Saturday, February 21, 2009

Largest earthquake ever recorded, Chile, 1960


That would be Chile, 1960. Same area as Darwin's quake. This helps put our recent small quakes in the Northeast in perspective.

From the USGS:

Chile
1960 May 22 19:11:14 UTC
Magnitude 9.5

The Largest Earthquake in the World


"Approximately 1,655 killed, 3,000 injured, 2,000,000 homeless, and $550 million damage in southern Chile; tsunami 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." (USGS)

"The series of earthquakes ... ravaged southern Chile and ruptured over a period of days a 1,000 km section of the fault, one of the longest ruptures ever reported. The number of fatalities associated with both the tsunami and the earthquake has been estimated to be between 490 and 5,700. Reportedly there were 3,000 injured, and initially there were 717 missing in Chile. The Chilean government estimated 2,000,000 people were left homeless and 58,622 houses were completely destroyed. Damage (including tsunami damage) was more than $500 million U.S. dollars. The main shock setup a series of seismic sea waves (tsunami) that not only was destructive along the coast of Chile, but which also caused numerous casualties and extensive property damage in Hawaii and Japan, and which was noticeable along shorelines throughout the Pacific Ocean area. There were several other geologic phenomena besides tsunamis associated with this event. Subsidence caused by the earthquake produced local flooding and permanently altered the shorelines of much of the area in Chile impacted by the earthquake. Landslides were common on Chilean hillsides. Cordón Caulle erupted forty-seven hours after the main shock. It is only a matter of time until Chile once again has a "world-class" earthquake whose impact, like the 1960 Chile event, will be felt around the world." (NOAA)

Valdivia, Chile (NOAA)

"Valdivia suffered catastrophic damage because of its proximity to the epicenter of the massive quake. Regional tectonic subsidence of five to seven feet occurred. There was extensive loss to agricultural lands from flooding. The horizontal ground motions, not the subsidence, caused the principal damage to structures away from shorelines and river channels. Older masonry structures were hard hit by the earthquake. However, many wood frame buildings performed well.

"The highest [tsunami] runup on the United States was at Crescent City, California. Here, the runup reached 1.7 m and the first wave arrived 15.5 hours after the tsunami was triggered. A total of $500,000 to $1,000,000 in damage was done by the tsunami to the United States west coast.

"Hilo was the hardest hit city in the Hawaiian Islands. The tsunami arrived at Hilo about 15 hours after it originated off the coast of south central Chile, 6,600 miles distant. The runup at Hilo was measured at 10.7 m. The tsunami changed into a bore as it passed the harbor entrance and advanced on to the bay front. The business district along Kamehameha Avenue and the adjoining low-lying residential areas of Waiakea and Shimmache were destroyed. Damage to property included 229 dwellings and 308 business and public buildings. Between the Wailoa and Wailuku Rivers, the water washed inland as far as the 6 m(20 ft) contour above sea level." (NOAA)


23 comments:

  1. this is a sobering blog post.

    this article ran in the nytimes today. san francisco is vulnerable to a large earthquake, and we are not prepared for emergency response w/in 24 hours:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/21/us/21quake.html?scp=1&sq=san%20francisco%20identifies%20buildings&st=cse

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  2. Need more information on the Preparation the Future and the Recommendation for these peoples!

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  3. were there fires in the cities or sumptin else??? i have to have more than one thing that happened after quake such as tsunami fire flood etc.

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  4. Thanks!!!!!!!! I needed to know this for a log-problem

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  5. Man Chile was hit hard. I wonder if we humans can ever experience a 10.0 and up in our life times like the scientists believe the dinosaurs experienced.

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  6. When will the next earthquake hit at? The seismic energy is moving around the world so I believe it is goin to be somewhere in the West Coast, as far as China can go.

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  7. thx!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  8. Just curious. If I will compute it from the figures given above, the tsunami wave speed are about 700 km per hour (from South chile to hawaii cost). This is an average speed of a Jumbo jet liner. I dont think that a mass of water with about 6 to 14 M high wave can run at this speed. I would appreciate if somebody could explain it further. Thanks.

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  9. Correct on the velocity. Tsunanmi velocities are nicely explained in these online lecture notes: http://www.tulane.edu/~sanelson/geol204/tsunami.htm

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  10. +1 Rob.

    A Tsunami travels differently than regular waves. Normal surface waves are an oscillation of the surface water only (barely felt below the surface), however a Tsunami travels as a compression wave the full depth of the water that it's in.

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  11. wow that was huge

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  12. Thank You!!!
    i just proved one of my best friends wrong because he thought that the previous earthquake was the biggest.

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  13. Hello i need how long it took for the recovery and what it was like i didnt see the place where it mostly hit i have been learning about the Chilean EarthQuake in 1960 in all my class's i cant seem to find how long the recovery took!!!
    Thank you for the info you have for everyone and the facts just need to compear the info the the differets.

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  14. Seismic Safety provides earthquake proof foundation repairs and seismic retrofit.

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  15. what was the richter scale reading

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  16. what magnitude did this earthquake lie on

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  17. deaths nothing near the ones from Japan's earthquake about a week ago, but as far as I know this quake sure was stronger and tsunami was faster. I feel bad for everyone who ever felt a quake. I belive that all of these quakes are comming from our activity. Bulldozing, drilling, digging. We are the ones destroying the planet! Think, if we didn't live, would there be earth quakes? probably, but mostlikely not as strong. If we didn't use as much energy(trees, uranium, etc.) as we do today then there might not be as strong earth quakes as we have now.

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