- 2010 Pichilemu earthquake
2010 Pichilemu earthquake
Terremoto de Pichilemu de 2010
House damaged by the Pichilemu earthquake, in the epicentre town, as seen on 16 April 2011.
Pichilemu earthquake shakemap produced by the United States Geological Survey
Date 11:39:41, 11 March 2010 (UTC-03:00) Magnitude 6.9 Mw Depth 33.1 kilometres (21 mi) Epicenter Pichilemu, Chile
Countries or regions Chile
Max. intensity MM X Tsunami Small tsunami Casualties 1 dead
The 2010 Pichilemu earthquake (Spanish: Terremoto de Pichilemu de 2010), also known as the Libertador O'Higgins earthquake, was a 6.9 MW earthquake that struck Chile's O'Higgins Region on 11 March 2010 at 11:39 local time (14:39 UTC). The earthquake was centred 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) northwest of the city of Pichilemu, according to the University of Chile Geological Service.
The earthquake was caused by increased regional stress arising from an earthquake on 27 February, centered offshore Maule Region, which was felt throughout central Chile. The 11 March earthquake was at first thought to be an aftershock from the 27 February event, but University of Chile Seismologist Jaime Campos identified it as an "independent earthquake". The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center pointed out the possibility of local tsunamis within 100 kilometres (62 mi) of the epicenter, although only small waves were seen in the Pichilemu area. One person was reported dead. At least 11 aftershocks immediately followed, causing panic throughout coastal towns between the Coquimbo and Los Lagos regions.
Pichilemu is a Chilean city, capital of Cardenal Caro Province, O'Higgins Region. As of 2002, it had 12,392 inhabitants. The city hosts five National Monuments of Chile, including the Agustín Ross Park, and the Agustín Ross Cultural Centre, both of which were seriously damaged by the earthquake. Tourism is the main industry of the city. Several surf championships take place every year in Punta de Lobos, which according to Fodor's is "widely considered the best surfing in South America year-round."
The 6.9 earthquake of 11 March 2010 was part of a series of earthquakes and aftershocks in central and southern Chile, following the 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Maule Region two weeks earlier. While news media reported the earthquake as an aftershock of the February earthquake in Chile, a preliminary geological summary issued by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) considered it to be an independent earthquake, a conclusion which seismologist Jaime Campos of the University of Chile also reached.
According to the United States Geological Service, the earthquake occurred in the region of the plate boundary between the Nazca and South America plates, in the aftershock region of the 27 February earthquake, that occurred offshore Maule Region. The Pichilemu earthquake was caused by the change in regional stress from the 27 February earthquake. Preliminary analyses by the USGS of their locations and seismic-wave radiation patterns suggest that the Pichilemu earthquake resulted from normal faulting within the subducting Nazca plate or the overriding South America plate, unlike the 27 February earthquake, which occurred as thrust faulting on the interface between the two plates. The focal depths of the Pichilemu earthquake are not known with sufficient precision to determine whether the Nazca or South American plate caused the earthquake.
From the pattern of aftershocks, it has been suggested that this earthquake originated from rupture along a previously unknown fault (Pichilemu Fault) between Pichilemu and the Maule Region commune of Vichuquén, at 15 km depth, 40 km in length and 20 km wide. At first it was not known whether this fault was formed during the earthquake or if it was just reactivated, however geologist José Cembrano from the University of Chile affirmed that "[the fault] corresponds to a long life fault, in a million years time, whose activity had not been detected before."
The earthquake occurred 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) northwest of Pichilemu, at a depth of 33.1 kilometres (20.6 mi) according to the University of Chile Seismological Service, while the United States Geological Service reported it occurred 105 kilometres (65 mi) west of Rancagua, capital of O'Higgins Region, at a depth of 11 kilometres (6.8 mi); Pichilemu News reported the earthquake occurred 35 kilometres (22 mi) northeast of Pichilemu, between the villages of Panilonco and La Aguada, and reached a moment magnitude of 7.2. As of 15 March 2010, more than 50 aftershocks had occurred in the area, the strongest of them measuring 6.7 in the moment magnitude scale, minutes after the initial quake.
The earthquake took place minutes before the new President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, was sworn in, at about 12:15 local time (15:15 UTC), at the Chilean congress in Valparaíso, where the shaking was clearly felt. The presidents of Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Paraguay were also present, but television footage showed that the inauguration was not interrupted; however, it was reported the ceremony was "speeded," as Piñera cancelled the protocolary lunch with his visits and traveled to Rancagua, one of the most affected cities by the quake.
A Pacific-wide tsunami warning was not issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, although the organization pointed out the possibility of local tsunamis within 100 kilometres (62 mi) of the epicenter, roughly between La Serena and Concepción. The Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service of the Chilean Navy (Servicio Hidrográfico y Oceanográfico de la Armada, SHOA) issued a tsunami warning between Coquimbo and Los Lagos regions, as a way of "keeping people protected" against the possible occurrence of new tsunamis. President Sebastián Piñera urged coastal residents to move to higher ground in case of a tsunami. People in Pichilemu fled to the La Cruz Hill for their security, where they received advice from members of the Army. The SHOA-emitted tsunami warning was lifted at around 15:50 local time (18:50 UTC).
President Piñera decreed "catastrophe state" in O'Higgins Region as a result of the quake, and appointed Army General Antonio Yackcich as Jefe de Plaza (English: Place Head) for the region, while he was visiting Rancagua that day.
Damage and casualties
At Pichilemu, its epicenter, the earthquake destroyed the balaustrades surrounding Agustín Ross Park, damaged severely the recently re-inaugurated Agustín Ross Cultural Centre, and severely damaged the Espinillo and Rodeillo villages. The earthquake was also reported to have been felt in Mendoza, Bariloche, Córdoba, San Rafael, Buenos Aires, Montevideo and Asunción. According to witnesses in the Pichilemu villages of Panilonco and La Aguada, the earthquake was accompannied by a "great noise."
According to a report by the National Office of Emergency of the Interior Ministry (Oficina Nacional de Emergencias del Ministerio del Interior, ONEMI) on 11 March 2010, small waves were seen in the area surrounding Pichilemu. The Santa Julia overpass located between Rancagua and Graneros collapsed, and there were partial power outages in Mostazal, San Fernando and Peumo.
A United States Geological Survey summary of the earthquake reported damage at Rancagua, 177 kilometers southwest of Pichilemu. The mayor of Rancagua, Eduardo Soto, reported severe damage to homes in the town. A small tsunami was also reported, with sea wave heights of 16 centimetres (0.525 ft) at Valparaíso, and 29 centimetres (0.951 ft) at San Antonio. Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter reported strong waves in Pichilemu and Bucalemu, and damage to a highway in O'Higgins Region. One person died of a heart attack during the earthquake in Talca, it was reported by La Tercera.
Relief efforts stalled for about six hours because of the constant aftershocks. Seismologist Mario Pardo from the University of Chile Seismological Service said on 15 March 2010 that it was thought Pichilemu was experiencing a seismic swarm, due to concerns about the continued aftershocks in the area. After several power outages and tsunami alerts, many people in Pichilemu stayed at La Cruz Hill and at Cordón, Cáhuil.
Within the following six hours there were ten aftershocks, two of magnitude 6 or greater, and seven between 5 and 6.
11 March 2010 Pichilemu earthquake and main aftershocks (over 6,0 MW) Date Local time Location Coordinates Depth MW Notes 11 March 2010 11:39:48 Pichilemu, O'Higgins 11,0 km 6,9  11 March 2010 11:55:30 La Estrella, O'Higgins 18,0 km 6,7  11 March 2010 12:06:03 Pichilemu, O'Higgins 29,3 km 6,0 
2 May 2010 aftershock
The 2 May 2010 Pichilemu aftershock was a magnitude 5.8 MW earthquake that struck O'Higgins, Chile, at 10:52 a.m. on 2 May 2010 at the epicenter, at a depth of 32.9 kilometres (20 mi) and epicenter 12 kilometres (7 mi) northwest of Pichilemu, according to the University of Chile Geological Service.
ONEMI (National Emergencies Office) reported that the aftershock was felt most strongly in Talca, 258 kilometres (160 mi) south of Santiago. ONEMI's Pablo Marín said there were no casualties and only some telephone lines had collapsed. Six aftershocks subsequently hit the area that day. The earthquake was measured as magnitude 5.9 by the United States Geological Survey.
29 September 2010 Lolol aftershock
A further aftershock of the Pichilemu earthquake occurred on September 29, 2010 at 12:29:48 local time (16:29:49 UTC). It had a magnitude of 5.6 (originally reported as 5.9), and its epicenter was centered 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) southwest of Lolol, O'Higgins Region, 43 kilometres (27 mi) southwest of Santa Cruz, and 170 kilometers southwest of Santiago, at a depth of 50 kilometres (31 mi).
Telephone calls were truncated in O'Higgins Region. No infrastructural damage or casualties was reported. The aftershock was felt throughout the Valparaíso, Metropolitan, O'Higgins, and Maule regions. It was felt stronger in Rancagua, San Vicente de Tagua Tagua, Paredones, Navidad, Talca, Curicó, Iloca, Molina, and San Javier, where it reached Mercalli V intensity.
- 1985 Pichilemu earthquake
- List of earthquakes in Chile
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- ^ a b "Informe de Sismo. [Earthquake Report.]" (in Spanish). University of Chile Seismological Service (Servicio de Sismología de la Universidad de Chile). September 2, 2010. http://sismologia.cl/events/sensibles/2010/09/20100929162953.html. Retrieved October 2, 2010.
- ^ "Chile: el sismo fue de 5,9 grados [Chile: seism was of 5.9 grades]" (in Spanish). BBC News. September 29, 2010. http://www.bbc.co.uk/mundo/ultimas_noticias/2010/09/100929_ultnot_chile_servicio_sismologico.shtml. Retrieved October 2, 2010. (Spanish)
This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Geological Survey document "Magnitude 6.9 - Libertador O'Higgins, Chile: Summary" (in the "Geological background" section).
← Major earthquakes in 2010 → January
Solomon Islands (7.1, Jan 3) · Eureka (USA) (6.5, Jan 10) · Haiti (7.0, Jan 12)†‡ · Drake Passage (Chile) (6.3, Jan 17)
Chile (8.8, Feb 27)† · Salta (Argentina) (6.3, Feb 27)
Kaohsiung (Taiwan) (6.4, Mar 4) · Elâzığ (Turkey) (6.1, Mar 8)† · 1st Pichilemu (Chile) (6.9, Mar 11) · 1st Biobío (Chile) (6.7, Mar 15) ·
April May June
Papua (Indonesia) (7.0, Jun 16) · Central Canada (5.0, Jun 23) · Oaxaca (Mexico) (6.2, Jun 30)
Borrego Springs (USA) (5.4, July 7) · 5th Biobío (Chile) (6.5, Jul 14) · New Britain (Papua New Guinea) (7.3, Jul 18) · Mindanao (Philippines) (7.6, 7.4, Jul 24) · Iran (5.6, July 30)
Ecuador (7.1, Aug 12)
3rd Sumatra (Indonesia) (7.7, Oct 25)†
Serbia (5.3, Nov 3)
Hosseinabad (Iran) (6.5, Dec 20) · Bonin Islands (Japan) (7.4, Dec 21)
† indicates earthquake resulting in at least 30 deaths
‡ indicates the deadliest earthquake of the year
- Coat of arms
- Notable people
Government Attractions Colleges and Schools See also
- 1985 Pichilemu earthquake
- 2003–2009 Pichilemu political controversies
- 2010 Pichilemu earthquake
- Los Restos Indígenas de Pichilemu
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