Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Catastrophic 8.8 magnitude earthquake strikes central Chile, spawns tsunami

A huge earthquake, the seventh strongest on record, struck Chile this morning:
A deadly 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck central Chile early Saturday, collapsing buildings, shattering major bridges and highways across a long strip of the country, and sending tsunami warnings along the entire Pacific basin.

The director of the National Emergency Agency, Carmen Fernández, said that 147 people died so far, according to local news reports. The death toll was expected to rise, particularly around Concepción, Chile’s second-largest metropolitan area, which is roughly 70 miles from the quake’s center.
(Photo courtesy of Globovision, reproduced under a Creative Commons license)

This excerpt from Wikipedia makes it plain just how massive this quake was:
It was the strongest earthquake affecting Chile since the magnitude 9.5 1960 Valdivia earthquake (the most energetic earthquake ever recorded worldwide), and is the strongest earthquake worldwide since the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. It was about 500 times stronger than the recent devastating magnitude 7.0 Haitian earthquake and is tied with a 1906 Ecuadorian earthquake as the seventh strongest earthquake ever recorded. The earthquake was felt in the capital Santiago at Mercalli intensity scale VII (Very Strong), as well as in many Argentine cities, including Buenos Aires, Córdoba, Mendoza and La Rioja.
President Obama has issued a statement and pledged United States support for Chile, should the Chilean government need it (and it certainly seems like they will).

The Pacific Northwest is not expected to be significantly affected by the tsunami the earthquake spawned. NOAA's National Weather Service says:
A Tsunami Advisory is in effect which includes the coastal areas of California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Alaska from the California-Mexico border to Attu, Alaska.

A Tsunami Advisory means that a tsunami capable of producing strong currents or waves dangerous to persons in or very near the water is imminent or expected. Significant, widespread inundation is not expected for areas under an advisory. Currents may be hazardous to swimmers, boats, and coastal structures and may continue for several hours after the initial wave arrival.
Big waves are not expected in inland waters like Puget Sound, but Cascadians who live along the coast should get off the beach and move to higher ground. Waves are expected to reach our region beginning around 2 PM. They'll hit the western edge of Oregon first, then Washington, and then British Columbia. The National Weather Service warns that big waves are likely to keep coming; the initial wave won't necessarily be the most powerful. So stay away from the surf!


Blogger kentoi_* said...


February 27, 2010 7:29 PM  

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