Ruptured Earth -- in the aftermath of the Chilean earthquake

Jul 30, 2010

On 27 February 2010, a gargantuan 8.8 earthquake struck south-central Chile, the fifth largest event ever recorded by modern seismology.

Now, a new study provides first-hand confirmation that the February earthquake ruptured a very long fault along the coast of Chile, but that its effects on coastal land varied; with a rise of land to a higher elevation in the South and an opposite sinking down of the Earth’s surface in the North.

The findings will help and seismologists gain a deeper understanding of what triggers large earthquakes.

In a Brevium, Marcelo Farías and researchers from Chile, France, and Germany report measurements from 33 sites related to the , all made within in a month of the rupture.

The measurements reveal that uplift or and of land occurred closer to the coast, while sinking occurred farther inward, toward land.

This pattern is broadly similar to measurements made following many other great earthquakes, and is consistent with a fault slip that lies along a 500 km section of the Chilean coast that coincides with previous earthquakes in 1835 and 1928.

Explore further: Lightning plus volcanic ash make glass

More information: "Land-Level Changes Produced by the Mw 8.8 2010 Chilean Earthquake," by M. Farías et al. Science, July 30, 2010.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Biggest recorded earthquake was brewing for four centuries

Oct 07, 2005

The earthquake that rocked Chile in 1960 - at magnitude 9.5, the biggest ever recorded - was preceded by almost 400 years of accumulating stress, according to studies of the region's buried soils and sand. Strain had been ...

Chilean Earthquake Triggers Smaller Than Expected Tsunami

Mar 01, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- While a huge earthquake off the coast of Chile triggered a tsunami that moved at the speed of a jet aircraft across the Pacific Ocean Feb. 27, the event was smaller scientists expected, said a University ...

Why do earthquakes stop?

Feb 06, 2008

The underlying structure of a fault determines whether an earthquake rupture will jump from one fault to another, magnifying its size and potential devastation. Understanding why some earthquakes terminate along a fault, ...

Recommended for you

Lightning plus volcanic ash make glass

9 hours ago

In their open-access paper for Geology, Kimberly Genareau and colleagues propose, for the first time, a mechanism for the generation of glass spherules in geologic deposits through the occurrence of volcan ...

A new level of earthquake understanding

14 hours ago

As everyone who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area knows, the Earth moves under our feet. But what about the stresses that cause earthquakes? How much is known about them? Until now, our understanding of ...

Combined Arctic ice observations show decades of loss

17 hours ago

It's no surprise that Arctic sea ice is thinning. What is new is just how long, how steadily, and how much it has declined. University of Washington researchers compiled modern and historic measurements to ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

rwinners
not rated yet Aug 02, 2010
A little data would make this article a lot more interesting. Distances from the coast, for instance would give us a more clear view of the what actually happened.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.