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Book Chapter

Earthquakes in Chile

By
Sergio E. Barrientos
Sergio E. Barrientos
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Published:
January 01, 2007

Abstract

No recorded human generation in Chile has escaped the damaging consequences of large earthquakes. More than ten events with magnitudes equal to or greater than magnitude 8 have taken place during the twentieth century alone. Among these earthquakes is the 1960 event, the largest earthquake ever recorded since the beginning of instrumental seismology. Such extreme seismic activity is a result of the interaction of the Nazca, Antarctic, Scotia and South American plates in southwestern South America where Chile is located (Fig. 10.1)

The large thrust earthquakes, responsible for most of the damage recorded in history, are located along the coast from Arica (18°S, the northernmost extreme of coastal Chile) to the triple-junction at Taitao Peninsula (46°S). With magnitudes that can reach values well over eight, these events are usually accompanied by noticeable coastal elevation changes and, depending on the amount of seafloor vertical displacement, by catastrophic tsunamis. Their rupture zones are limited to the coupled region between the Nazca and South American plates which extends down to 45–53 km depth (Tichelaar & Ruff 1991) and their lengths could reach well over 1000 km. Their spatial and time characteristics have been studied (Kelleher 1972; Barrientos 1981; Martin 1991; Nishenko 1985; Ramírez 1988; Beck et al. 1998), so that the hazard due to these large events is well recognized and understood. Return periods for magnitude 8 events are of the order of 80 to 130 years for any given region in Chile, but about 12

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Geological Society, London, Geology of Series

The Geology of Chile

Teresa Moreno
Teresa Moreno
Earth Sciences Institute ‘Jaume Almera’, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Barcelona, Spain
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Wes Gibbons
Wes Gibbons
AP 23075, Barcelona, Spain
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Geological Society of London
ISBN electronic:
9781862393936
Publication date:
January 01, 2007

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