Strong Earthquake — Chile

Strong earthquake close to La Serena and Coquimbo, Chile

Last update: April 30, 2012 at 1:05 pm by By 

Strong earthquake close to La Serena and Coquimbo, Chile
A strong earthquake shook houses close to the Chile cities of La Serena and Coquimbo
Coquimbo has a population of 161,137 calls this earthquake moderately dangerous for minor damage and minor injuries
Onemi Chile calls this earthquake : Sismo de mediana intensidad en las regiones de Atacama y Coquimbo
Intensity values :
Región: Atacama
Alto del Carmen: IV, Copiapó: IV, Tierra Amarilla: IV, Vallenar: IV
Región: Coquimbo
Canela: II, Coquimbo: V, La Serena: V, Ovalle: V (V=moderate shaking)
See also Experience reports below
Onemi indicates that all infrastructure and telecommunications kept working
An Experience report we received right after the earthquake struck mentions a duration of 1 minute 30 seconds for the the shaking, which is very long. A prolonged shaking increases the chance on damage considerably.
Update 08:10 UTC : Universidad de Chile reports a Ml magnitude of 6 luckily at a depth of 45 km. Universidad de Chile places the epicenter approx. 35 km out of the coast.
Contrary to many other earthquakes in Chile, this earthquake was located in the north of the country at a big distance from Santiago de Chile. Most earthquakes who are occurring in this area have a deeper hypocenter.
Update 08:18 UTC : USGS is mentioning a Mw5.5 at a depth of 32.3 km. USGS expects 116,000 people to have felt a moderate MMI V shaking. The earthquake happened at 03:39 local time!
Update 08:26 UTC : An inhabitant of nearby La Serena informed ER that no damage or disruption of basic services was noticed.  “No se reportan daños ni cortes de servicios básicos
Update 08:50 UTC : We expect a final report to arrive within 4 to 6 hours (soon after daylight). Local newspapers are mentioning basic Onemi data, nothing else. Experience reports from our Chile readers make this report the “best available in the world” at the time of writing  .
Update 12:57 UTC : Electricity was cut off for a while in Sindempart Coquimbo. People reacted to the shaking to assemble on the secure locations in the coastal towns. This can be called auto-evacuation which produces after every major shaking. People are going to higher grounds as they do not know the epicenter and initial strength of the shaking, especially after the February 27 deadly tsunami in Chile. Better not take any risk than trusting SHOA or ONEMI they think (Shoa is the tsunami reporting agency).  The same attitude exists in other frequently shaken coastal towns around the world. At we think that this is a wise decision, however we also know that the government reports are very accurate !