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SANTIAGO, March 25 (Reuters) - A magnitude 7.2 earthquake hit central Chile on Sunday, shaking buildings in the capital of Santiago and the government emergency agency, ONEMI, said it was preventively evacuating some areas of the coast.
The quake struck 64 miles (103 km) west north west of the town of Talca at a depth of 6.2 miles (10 km), the U.S. Geological Survey said.
Magnitude 7.0 quakes or greater are capable of causing widespread, heavy damage.
ONEMI said, however, that the quake was not expected to generate a tsunami off the coast.
The latest earthquake hit near the same central region that struck by a massive 8.8 magnitude earthquake in 2010 and ensued tsnunamis in 2010 that killed about 500 people.
The central area is home to some important copper mines, but the bulk of output in the world's top copper exporting nation is concentrated in the far northern region. (Reporting Alexandra Ulmer in Santiago and Alonso Soto in Brasilia)
Originally posted by BiggerPicture
Guess this was just the foreshock.,, and that guy knows what he was talking about/predicting!
Reaffirmed that seismologists predict that in the next two decades there will be a strong earthquake in northern Chile, which was not affected by the earthquake of 8.8 on the Richter scale that struck Feb. 27 central and south.
An earthquake affecting the area from southern Peru to Mejillones in northern Chile, whose magnitude could be a "worst scenario" of 8.8 to 9.0 degrees on the Richter scale, is what the experts have been saying since the mega earthquake occurred in the central-south.
And that is why seismic warnings do not stop. One that began with these theories was the physical geographer at the Catholic University of Chile, Marcelo Lagos, who said that there could be "now or in three years."
His words are based on the fact that in the affected area, defined as "seismic gap", there has been movement from 134 years ago. On May 9, 1877 was the last great earthquake in the area, covering about 600 miles long.
"This was the oldest seismic calm Chile," said the specialist and the earthquake is so imminent that "could be now, tomorrow or in three years."
Lagos Analysis is based on the study of rigidity around the fault (how hard rocks are broken), displacement at failure (many meters are going to move the blocks), the rupture length and width . Also in the calculations should be considered the call rate of convergence of tectonic plates in northern Chile, which is seven centimeters per year. The last part of the mathematical estimates, said Lagos, to calculate the moment magnitude (Mw), which is a logarithmic measure. Lagos concluded that an earthquake is expected and may be imminent, with a magnitude of 8.8 to 9.0 on the Richter scale if they break the 600 km long seismic lagoon.
But other experts would not be outdone. The academic at the University of Chile and the University Louis Pasteur, France, Armando Cisternas, referred to the time periods would this catastrophe.
"The break (plate tectonics) would occur between Arica and Antofagasta. In this sector have been accumulating material deformations are close to rupture. It may be this year, may be the next ten years or more. I can not say exactly how many years, but is on the order of 15, it will not be much longer, "said the teacher in Las Ultimas Noticias.
Consulted by the certainty that the event will happen soon and not in several decades, Cisternas said that "we are more or less at the time that the earthquake has to come. The approach between the two plates is such that when moved one towards the other will cause a movement of the order of 12 meters from one plate relative to the other. That is equivalent to a magnitude 9 earthquake. So everything is ready for this to happen. "
Meanwhile, Jaime Campos, Department of Geophysics, University of Chile, told Cambio21 earthquake that may occur over a period of 10 to 20 years. "There will be 100 years," he said.
"The seismic gap in the north is of a size that could generate an earthquake of magnitude eight or higher degrees, but you can not predict whether that energy will be released in one motion or in several," he added.
In particular, insisted that "seismic gap that lies between Antofagasta and Arica, the last major earthquakes recorded in this area occurred in the years 1868 and 1877, and were capable of generating tsunamis that reached the coast of Japan, so its size must be at least 8.5 degrees Richter ".
Recent earthquakes in the area
By the middle of last century, in 1950, there was another earthquake of magnitude eight in the area of Antofagasta. This quake was so misunderstood, as it believed that its epicenter was located at sea.
Seismologists in 1992 identified the area between Arica and Taltal, 1,100 kilometers north of Santiago, as a seismic gap, and warned then that in this area could produce an earthquake "in the near future."
This happened only three years later, in 1995, when the earthquake hit Antofagasta, magnitude of 8.1 degrees, which filled part of the seismic gap, located at first between Taltal and Arica, and then was reduced to the area between Antofagasta and Arica.
Despite this strong earthquake, in all this time the area has not been without shaking, as the last detected in 2005 in the Tarapaca region, 7.9 degrees, and in 2007 in Tocopilla, of 7.7 on the Richter scale .