At about 13:26 CLT, July 25, 2016, the United States Geological Survey National Earthquake Center (USGS) reported that a magnitude 6.2 earthquake rocked the coast of Chile, in the area near Atacama. This city is located about 66 kilometers WNW of Diego de Almagro. The epicenter was located at 26.106º S. and 70.646º W. The tremor was measured at a depth of 68 kilometers.
Much of the affected area was described as being resistant to housing damage caused by these high magnitude tremors, although landslides can add to the losses incurred by the populace. Approximately 19,000 people live in this particular location, although if after-shocks approach the nearest largest area of Copiapó, they could expose another 140,000 people to potential damage. In heavily populated areas, these magnitude earthquakes can cause extensive damage. According to Michigan Tech University, tremblors of a magnitude 6 or higher, occur about 100 times each year, throughout the world.
Chile has an elongated 7,800-kilometer land mass that stretches along the South Pacific Ocean for 6,000 kilometers between Argentina and Peru. This area also includes Easter Island. As a reference, it is smaller than Montana, in the United States.
By Bob Reinhard
Edited by Jeanette Smith
United States Geological Survey: National Earthquake Center 2016-07-25 17:26:49 Atacama, Chile
Central Intelligence Agency: World Fact Book – Chile
Michigan Tech University: Earthquake Magnitude Scale
Image Courtesy of Keith Ewing’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License