Chillean Earthquake

Essay by mr.moeHigh School, 11th grade December 2004

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In May of 1960 a massive Earthquake devastated the small country of Chile, the earthquake measured 9.5 on the Richter scale. More than 2,000 people were killed, 3,000 injured, 2,000,000 homeless, and $550 million damage in southern Chile. The tsunami caused by the quake caused 61 deaths, $75 million damage in Hawaii; 138 deaths and $50 million damage in Japan; 32 dead and missing in the Philippines; and $500,000 damage to the west coast of the United States.

The instruments that seismologists use to measure earthquake magnitudes are designed to detect the amount of energy released by the movement of the ground during a quake.

The epicenter of the earthquake was 60 meters down below the ocean floor about 100 miles off the coast of Chile out in the Pacific. The near by towns of Valdivia and Puerto Montt suffered devastating damage because of their closeness to the center of such a massive quake.

Not only was there damage to man-made structures during the quake, but the earth itself was forever changed by the enormous amount of energy released from below. Huge landslides, massive flows of earthen debris and rock, were sent tumbling down mountain slopes. Some landslides were so enormous they changed the course of major rivers or dammed them up creating new lakes. The land along the coast of Chile, particularly in the Port city of Peurto Montt, sunk downward as a result of the movement of the ground during the quake and the coastal city was flooded with ocean water.

Chile has seen many earthquakes both before the 1960 record-setting temblor and after. Two very large contenders have happened on March 3, 1985, and another on July 30, 1995. These earthquakes both had a magnitude of about 8. Chilean earthquakes are not rare nor are...