2010 February 27 06:34:14 UTC

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Earthquake Details

Location35.846°S, 72.719°W
Depth35 km (21.7 miles) set by location program
Distances100 km (60 miles) NNW of Chillan, Chile
105 km (65 miles) WSW of Talca, Chile
115 km (70 miles) NNE of Concepcion, Chile
325 km (200 miles) SW of SANTIAGO, Chile
Location Uncertaintyhorizontal +/- 7.2 km (4.5 miles); depth fixed by location program
ParametersNST=255, Nph=255, Dmin=988 km, Rmss=1.12 sec, Gp= 36°,
M-type=teleseismic moment magnitude (Mw), Version=7
Event IDus2010tfan
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Earthquake Summary

Small globe showing earthquakeSmall map showing earthquake

Earthquake Summary Poster

Tectonic Summary

This earthquake occurred at the boundary between the Nazca and South American tectonic plates. The two plates are converging at a rate of 80 mm per year. The earthquake occurred as thrust-faulting on the interface between the two plates, with the Nazca plate moving down and landward below the South American plate.

Coastal Chile has a history of very large earthquakes. Since 1973, there have been 13 events of magnitude 7.0 or greater. The February 27 shock originated about 230 km north of the source region of the magnitude 9.5 earthquake of May, 1960 – the largest earthquake worldwide in the last 200 years or more. This giant earthquake spawned a tsunami that engulfed the Pacific Ocean. An estimated 1600 lives were lost to the 1960 earthquake and tsunami in Chile, and the 1960 tsunami took another 200 lives among Japan, Hawaii, and the Philippines. Approximately 870 km to the north of the February 27 earthquake is the source region of the magnitude 8.5 earthquake of November, 1922. This great quake significantly impacted central Chile, killing several hundred people and causing severe property damage. The 1922 quake generated a 9-meter local tsunami that inundated the Chile coast near the town of Coquimbo; the tsunami also crossed the Pacific, washing away boats in Hilo harbor, Hawaii. The magnitude 8.8 earthquake of February 27, 2010 ruptured the portion of the South American subduction zone separating these two massive historical earthquakes.

A large vigorous aftershock sequence can be expected from this earthquake.

Earthquake Information for Chile

Earthquake Information for South America

Predecessors of the giant 1960 Chile earthquake - Brian Atwater, Nature 437, 404-407 (15 September 2005)