Earthquake – Chile/Peru Border

Very strong deep earthquake at the Chile / Peru border – some damage and power cuts reported in both countries

Last update: May 14, 2012 at 8:49 pm by By l

The earthquake took place in the border area of Southern Peru and Northern Chile.

Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : 6.2 preliminary – 5.9 USGS  EMSC 6.4 – USGS 6.2
UTC Time :   Monday, May 14, 2012 at 10:00:30 UTC
Local time at epicenter : Monday, May 14, 2012 at 06:00:30 AM at epicenter
Depth (Hypocenter) : 22 to 80 km ?? — USGS 98 km – EMSC 60 km
Geo-location(s) :
66 km (41 miles) ENE (62°) from Tacna, Peru
110 km (68 miles) NE (38°) from Arica, Chile

Important Update 17:40 UTC :
CHILE side of the border
The Tarapaca governor reported earlier today that :
– Some walls have collapsed in the Arica port area
– Power was cut in 15% of Arica’s households (3000 families)
– some roads are / where  inaccessible (ie route 5)
The governor also said that local people had the feeling that the quakes intensity was stronger than VI which was reported by Chile’s ONEMI.
– Although the authorities never called a tsunami alert as the hypocenter was below land, a lot of people have auto-evacuated to higher grounds
– Luckily there are NO reports of injuries
All these data are for the Chile side of the border
Peru side of the border
– As could be expected, also TACNA had power cuts
– Walls and roofs fall in the area, a water pipe broke in Para sector and cracked windows in stores.
– TACNAschools like “Francisco Antonio de Zela” and “Coronel Bolognesi” showed fissures in walls.
– Landslides in the road of Ilabaya and cracks on irrigation canals of Candarave
– 5 people did jump from their houses causing them to be injured

Update 11:33 UTC :  IGP, Peru has also other earthquake data. Ml5.9 at a depth of 105 km. Epicenter : see below (Peru side of the border). IGP Peru has calculated that based on their earthquake data Tacna would have experienced a MMI IV light shaking and Arequipa a MMI III weak shaking.

Shaking map courtesy USGS

Update 11:03 UTC : ONEMI Chile, the outstanding emergency authority in Chile, is calling the earthquake “mediana intensidad” (moderate intensity).  The strongest Magnitude has been given to Arica (MMI VI or strong shaking). At we use MMI VII as a beginning of chances for serious damage. MMI VI can generate small effects like falling objects, cracks in walls etc.

Update 10:58 UTC : Theoretical calculations (based on USGS data) have reported that 295,000 people will have experienced a MMI V moderate shaking. 1.9 million people a light shaking and 2.24 million people a weak to very weak shaking.

Update 10:53 UTC : Universidad de Chile (to be trusted highly) reports a Magnitude of Ml6.4 at a hupocenter depth of 119.6 km (good but still serious earthquake numbers). Universidad de Chile Santiago, is putting the epicenter close to Tacna, Peru. Both EMSC and USGS have located the epicenter in Chile!

Update 10:52 UTC : Tacna has reported a moderate shaking (MMI V). The earthquake was felt as far as Arequipa in Peru and Arica in Chile. Deep earthquakes are felt in a far wider area than shallow earthquakes.

Update 10:49 UTC : Preliminary earthquake numbers can be very tricky during earthquakes. There is a night and day difference in between the depths of 20 or 90 km. The first can be highly damaging.  These depths are rarely noticed in the area but they occur, so there is no certainly of what really happened at the beginning.

Update 10:47 UTC : We have removed the text “very dangerous”  from the title because the depth value of USGS has changed from 22 km to 98 km.  The Magnitude however has been increased from 5.9 to Mw6.2. In general we can say that a 90+ km depth would only be capable to generate minor damage or injuries. Only a few exceptions can be more damaging.

Update 10:41 UTC : the earthquake occurred at 06:00 AM during the early morning hours when a lot of people are still asleep.  This is always a bad period for earthquakes. On the positive side is that daylight will have started. We have NO reactions from the area as of yet. We call upon our readers from the area to at least give us a few more details on the time that the strong shaking lasted.

Update 10:37 UTC : We have changed the title and have added “very dangerous” to the already existing text. Why ? Because EMSC has increased the Magnitude from 6.0 to 6.4 – Depth at EMSC has been reduced in few time from 80 to 40 km. Bad numbers !

Update 10:35 UTC :  12 minutes later, a M 4.0 aftershock struck the same area.

Update 10:33 UTC :  Initial reports from USGS and EMSC are locating the epicenter in different countries(EMSC in Peru and USGS in Chile). Also the depth is fundamentally different in this initial phase (22 km USGS = dangerous and 40 km EMSC = less dangerous)

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