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    Posted April 3, 2014 by
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    Chile earthquake, aftershock and aftermath. The worst is yet to come

    Chile was hit with an 8.2 magnitude earthquake on Tuesday night that set off a tsunami along the coast. The effects of the powerful earthquake were felt from 290 miles away in Bolivia, which experienced a 4.5 magnitude tremor, as well as in Hawaii, which issued a tsunami advisory. In Chile, dozens of tremors in recent weeks leading up to the recent earthquake had allowed people to prepare for what was to come by buying rations and preparing for an eventual evacuation. Thousands of people were evacuated from the coast and 6 people were reported to have been killed so far—a remarkably low number for an earthquake of this magnitude.

    However, the devastation that followed was not preventable. Landslides and rockslides that blocked off highways as well as fires, lack of water and power outages were some of the disastrous effects that Chile experienced.

    Additionally, more than 300 inmates escaped from a nearby women’s prison and resulting in the closure of the border with Peru. The country was deemed to be in a state of emergency as military planes were sent in with 100 anti-riot police and 300 soldiers deployed to prevent looting and round up the prisoners that escaped. So far, only a third of the inmates were captured.

    Since Tuesday, Chile experienced aftershocks every few minutes, the strongest being one with a magnitude of 7.6 in northern Chile late Wednesday. This aftershock in particular triggered another tsunami warning for Chile and Peru but was cancelled later that night. These aftershocks are predicted to continue for months according to earthquake experts at Universidad de Chile.

    As news spread about the earthquake in Chile, the world’s top copper producer, it triggered a rise in copper prices on Wednesday as many feared that the country’s mining operations would have suffered major damage. However, prices decreased as reports assured that mining operations escaped major damage.

    Despite the power of this earthquake, seismologists report that this was not the “big one” they had expected to hit the region and they expect a more powerful earthquake to hit the region at some point. They do not know when this would occur but according to studies, the recent earthquake is unlikely to have relieved the built up pressures along the massive fault line which has not broken in the area since 1877. According to Rick Allmendinger, a Cornell University professor of Earth and atmospheric sciences, "It's probably not big enough to have released all of the energy that had been stored up along that locked plate boundary for the last 140 years or so. Is this the big one for that area? Or was it a foreshock to a presumably even bigger earthquake?"
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