What caused the 2015 chile earthquake? An earthquake of Magnitude 8.3 occurred at 7:54 pm Chile local time, on 16 September 2016. The time of the earthquake was Wednesday night, which killed about 13 people not including the missing ones. The quake was the second major earthquake after the earthquake in the year of 2010, which claimed the lives of about more than 500 people. The earthquake in 2015 lasted about 3 minutes and resulted in some aftershocks of more than Magnitude 6.
The epicenter occurred in the coastal area a few mile west of town called Illapel, or north-west from a capital city, Santiago, Chile. Although the disaster of earthquake happened off the land, the depth where the earthquake happen was categorized as shallow which was about 20 meters. Caused by the earthquake, some places in some Chile’s cities suffered severe damages. The city that suffered considerable damage was Coquimbo, a Northern city of Santiago and other towns close to the shore.
Tsunamis of some meters also occurred towards Chile coastal towns, after that earthquake in the late evening struck in local chile time. When the tsunami occurred, there was no tsunami warning early. It could be seen in pictures that some medium-sized ships carried away by the tsunami into the towns in Chile including Coquimbo.
History shows that Chile had a big quake during the last century in 1900’s and 2000’s. It is located on vulnerable zone for what caused the 2015 chile earthquake.
The Cause of the Earthquake
Chile was one of the countries in history with one of the most powerful earthquakes, with Magnitude 9.5 in 1960 that caused hundreds over a thousand casualties. Another earthquake occurred in 2010 measuring 8.8 Magnitude caused about 525 people died and a followed 70 people died in the Tsunami. In 2014, an earthquake with 8.2 Magnitude also struck Chile causing prevalent damages.
What caused the earthquake? The most occurring places for earthquake occur between two tectonic plates. And in between these two plates, tectonic plates hit each other. In Chile, they are near the border between two plates. Chile was in the midst of tectonic plates, in between the plates of South America and Nazca. Nazca plate pushed under the South America plate at a speed of 7 centimeters per year.
This thrust fault caused the 8.3 magnitude earthquake, 4 meters tsunami and subsequent aftershocks of more than M.6 within 16 September 2015. The fault that caused this earthquake was a thrust fault. The thrust fault can lead to powerful earthquakes. Two of the examples were Chilean mega-thrust earthquake in 1960 as well as Japanese mega-thrust earthquake in 2011. The mega-thrust earthquakes happened in subduction zone.
The impact of the earthquake can be minimized with preparation and early detection of earthquakes. The technology includes sensors detecting earthquake and tsunami could be used to evacuate people who lived around the faults.
So what caused the 2015 chile earthquake? The most dangerous places associated with the earthquake is the place near the fault. Fault is the rupture or break of the fault plane as a result of tension and stress caused by two plates hit each other. When the earthquake occurred at a subduction zone such as the location of the earthquake in Chile, it could cause a powerful earthquake to have apparent damages on locations near the thrust fault. The hazard of earthquake in subduction zone could also cause tsunami. Mostly, people have been killed by collapse building or wiped out by tsunami.