Saturday, February 27, 2010

Chile earthquake Damage and casualties

According to an Associated Press Television News cameraman, some buildings have collapsed in Santiago and there are power outages in parts of the city.Santiago's International Airport seems to have been damaged and the airport authority has closed off all flight operations for the next 24 hours from around 1200 UTC.

At least 78 deaths have been reported so far.

Damaged buildings and fires were reported in Concepción.

The Chilean National Emergency Office Oficina Nacional de Emergencia estimated that the intensity of the earthquake was 9 on the Mercalli scale in the Biobío Region and 8 in Santiago. USGS put the intensity in Santiago and Valparaiso at MM VI.

The earthquake occurred along the boundary between the Nazca Plate and the South American Plate. At the location of this earthquake, the plates converge at 80 mm/year. The coastal part of Chile has a history of great megathrust earthquakes originating from this plate boundary, such as the 1960 Valdivia earthquake. More recently, this plate boundary ruptured at the 2007 Antofagasta earthquake.

The earthquake is characterized by a thrust-faulting focal mechanism, caused by the subduction of the Nazca plate under the South American plate.

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