Wednesday, March 3, 2010

8.8 earthquakes shake Chile on Feb 27 2010

On Saturday, Feb. 27, a massive earthquake hit the coast of Chile at 3:34 a.m. and caused a tsunami that came in three waves and surged over 200 meters high, according to an article on

As of Tuesday, 795 people were reported dead and over 1.5 million homes damaged or destroyed after the 8.8-magnitude quake shook the earth. This number is likely to grow as search-and-rescue teams discover more bodies in collapsed buildings and rubble, according to an article on

Japan and Hawaii were both put on high alert in fear of the tsunami, but the surges that reached the islands were smaller than expected, according to an article on On the Chilean island of Juan Fernandez the tsunami washed away villages and destroyed houses, yet no tsunami warning was issued to this or any other coastal area. On Monday, the Chilean defense minister, Francisco Vidal said the navy made the mistake, according to an article on

"The truth even if it hurts [is that] a division of the navy made a mistake," Vidal said at a press conference on Sunday.

The country's north-south highway collapsed in multiple places, a 15-story sky-rise collapsed near the city of Concepcion and the airport in Santiago, the capital city, suffered great damage to its terminal. Santiago residents lost power, telephone service and water and a chemical fire spread to several buildings. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet postponed the start of the new school year, previously scheduled for Monday, until March 8.

"The forces of nature have hurt our country greatly. We now have to face adversity and stand again," Bachelet said in a televised statement Saturday night, according to

Scientists at NASA say the earthquake caused the earth's axis to shift, making days a negligible 1.26 microseconds shorter. They say that a large quake redistributes massive amounts of rock and changes the mass distribution of the planet, which influences the earth's speed while rotating. After the tsunami that devastated Indonesia in 2004, the length of days shortened by 6.8 microseconds, according to the article.

In the immediate aftermath, at least 1.5 million people were without power in the country. The quake was followed by 76 aftershocks of at least 4.9-magnitude, which killed a 58-year-old man and an 8-year-old boy in Argentina. The two deaths occurred in separate cities.

The quake was a "megathrust", the most powerful type of earthquake on the planet during which one tectonic plate dives beneath another. The quake occurred approximately 140 miles north of where the largest earthquake ever recorded struck -a 9.5-magnitude quake in 1960 that killed 1,200 people

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Chile on Tuesday where she met with Chilean and congratulated Chilean President-elect Sebastian PiƱera. Clinton said that the United States is ready to respond to the needs and request of Chile

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