The Chilean earthquake that struck on the 1st of April 95km NW of Iquique caused a lot of stir regarding building regulations. The 8.2 mega-thrust quake was underestimated by seismologists as they expected an earthquake of a larger magnitude of around 9Mw to rupture the plates along the coastline of Northern Chile near the border of Peru. Henceforth, they believe another earthquake of a larger scale will occur and cause a massive rupture within the surface of the plate. Until then it shall remain as a seismic gap.
The quake was felt in Bolivia and Peru and was at a depth of 20.1km. Several aftershocks with an average magnitude of 4Mw to 5Mw were felt and are currently still occurring nearly on a day to day basis. The mega-thrust quake caused a tsunami on the shores of Laquique, however that too was not as large as seismologists had expected it to be as mega-thrust earthquakes produce large Tsunamis i.e. The Alaskan Tsunami in 1964. The tsunami occurred the following day at night and gathered up a height of 6.9ft.
The quake caused 7 deaths and left 200 hospitalized with 9 injured in Peru. 2500 homes were destroyed with 80,000 people displaced. Although the quake caused significant damage to many, it was said to not have caused as much damage as many had expected. Although a great number of houses were damaged many more were still standing all due to implemented building regulations.
Since Chile lies on a subduction zone, where the Nazca plate lies below the South American plate, it is constantly prone to earthquakes of all sizes. Chile’s officials aware of this fact have legislated building laws which say that buildings are meant to be made out of reinforced concrete and steel of causes a resistance towards moving ground. John Bellini, geophysicist for the US Geological Survey talked about Chile’s earthquake to CNN saying, “They’re a seismically active region of the world and they are very good at implementing their building codes similar to California.” He added, “Because of that, you would see less damage than in other places that have poorer building codes …. that’s probably one of the reasons there haven’t been as many casualties as there could have been from a magnitude earthquake of this size.”
Click the following link to read more on Chile’s building laws
Chile being home to the largest earthquake that ever occurred in 1960 raises concern for neighboring countries of which have neighboring fault lines. Events like the mega-thrust earthquake that occurred early this April has got countries like the US, Japan and Nicaragua taking extra precaution to ensure the safety and security of their nation by implementing building rules and guidelines and continuing to prepare and improve preparedness programs for people to follow with hopes of reducing the fatality rate in the near future. Seismologists however believe that 8Mw earthquakes may eventually occur in Japan and Indonesia due to their mobile crustal deep moving plates. In the case of moving tectonic plates it is just a matter of when.
The following link shows ther number of earthquakes of which occurred in chile over the past 30 days