Aftershocks Rattle Chile, as New President is Sworn In; RMS Analysis

March 11, 2010

Sebastian Pinera’s inauguration as Chile’s new president was accompanied by a blunt reminder of the peril the country faces from earthquakes as two large aftershocks struck just before the ceremony

According to a preliminary analysis from Risk Management Solutions a powerful 7.2 (moment magnitude) earthquake struck the Libertador O’Higgins region of central Chile around 11:40 a.m. local time. “The USGS has released a preliminary fixed depth estimate of 22 miles (35 km), approximately 90 miles (150 km) southwest of Santiago and 88 miles (140 km) south-southwest of Valparaiso,” said RMS.

“According to the USGS, the region closest to the epicenter experienced intensity VII (very strong) shaking on the Modified Mercalli Intensity (MMI) scale. Towns that may have been affected by this level of shaking include La Estrella, Litueche, Navidad, Marchihue, Reten Llico, Rapel, Poblacion and Pichilemu. Initial reports are of windows rattling in Santiago, but there have been no reports of damage in the capital city.

“Fifteen minutes later the same region was struck by a strong magnitude 6.9 (moment magnitude) earthquake. This second earthquake occurred at 14:55 UTC (11:55 am local time) and the USGS have assigned a preliminary focal depth of 27.6 miles (44.4 km), around 80 miles (130 km) southwest of Santiago; and 85 miles (140 km) south of Valparaiso.”

The location of the epicenter of the second earthquake is approximately 4.5 miles (7.2 km) from the first. According to the USGS ShakeMap, a similar pattern of shaking intensity occurred as in the first earthquake, with the towns of La Estrella, Litueche, Marchihue and Poblacion experiencing up to intensity VI shaking.

Both earthquakes are aftershocks of the February 27 8.8Mw earthquake in Chile.

There were no immediate reports of significant damages or injuries, but ERMS said it would continue to monitor the situation and update accordingly.

Source: Risk Management Solutions –

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