An earthquake registering 8.2 on the Richter scale hit Chile on Tuesday. It also set off a tsunami which caused extensive damage.
Chile is a country that is hit by the majority of earthquakes in the world. The reason for that is the Ring of Fire in the ambit of which it lies. This volcanic circle off the Pacific Coast is further augmented by the Nazca fault lines thereby making the area vulnerable to geological disturbances.
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The huge earthquake that shook the region clocked in at 8.2 on the Richter scale and has led to the deaths of five people (four men and one woman). Furthermore, it has led to a tsunami which lapped the northern coastline.
"An earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines near the epicenter within minutes and more distant coastlines within hours," the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.
Not many human lives were lost since the epicenter of the earthquake was off the coast. Yet the tremors were felt in neighboring Peru too. Chile is the world’s #1 producer of copper and it was a miracle that the copper mines were not damaged. But 300 female inmates of a prison escaped and so that is cause for worry.
There was much chaos since the tsunami generated by the earthquake hit Iquique which is a sea port. Hundreds of Chileans evacuated the lowlands since there was a danger of the tremors repeating their activity in an even more devastating form.
The President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet has promised to take emergency relief measures for the broken and shaken buildings in the regions affected by the earthquake. Four years ago, an earthquake led to the tragic deaths of over 500 individuals. Meanwhile, the tsunami may strike the shores of Mexico.
"Sea level changes and strong currents may occur along all coasts that could be a hazard to swimmers and boaters as well as to persons near the shore at beaches and in harbors and marinas," the warning center said.
However, the US Geological Survey stated clearly that the Pacific region of the United States would not face the deleterious effects of the tsunami.
Chile has reinforced structures in its buildings since the earthquakes that strike time after time have led to cautionary measures being instituted. In 1960 a very massive earthquake hit Chile and it caused many deaths. It is hoped that such an act of Nature will not occur any time soon.