Strong Quake, Chile

A strong, shallow earthquake struck the coast of northern Chile this afternoon New Zealand time.

Friday 13 November 2009

A magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck 95 km south of Arica, Chile (95 km north of Iquique, Chile) at 4:06 p.m. NZDT. The U.S. Geological Survey reports that the quake was 10 km deep.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued a bulletin at 4:18 p.m. NZDT also reporting the quake as magnitude 6.5 but at the greater depth of 78 km. The bulletin advised that a widespread tsunami threat did NOT exist based on historical data.

Geoscience Australia also reports the quake as magnitude 6.5 and 10 km deep. They estimate that it would have caused damage up to 65 km from the epicentre and would have been felt as far as 750 km away.

Almost two years ago to the day, a major quake struck on-shore to the south of Iquique near Tocopilla (170 km north-north-east of Antofagasta). The magnitude 7.7 quake of November 15th 2007 was located on Chilean territory near the border with Bolivia and Argentina. The aftershock sequence of the 2007 event is discussed here.

During modern history, three very large earthquakes in Chile have produced damaging tsunami on New Zealand’s coasts. They were: Arica (then part of Peru) 13th August 1868 (magnitude 9.0), off-shore Tarapaca 10th May 1877 (magnitude 8.3), and Valdivia (south of Santiago) 22nd May 1960 (magnitude 9.5).

[Compiled from data supplied by the U.S. Geological Survey and its contributing agencies; the U.S. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre, and Geoscience Australia.]

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