Last night, Chile experienced an earthquake that measured 8.2 on the richter scale originating 950 miles north of the nation’s capital of Santiago. As of this morning only 6 people have been reported dead largely because the quake originated in the ocean off the Chilean coast. Seven foot waves from the tsunami triggered by the quake struck parts of Chile however government officials are saying that the population was mostly able to evacuate to higher ground beforehand citing civilian readiness as a result of 2010’s Chilean quake. An 8.2 on the richter scale means the following effects can usually be expected.
Major damage to buildings, structures likely to be destroyed. Will cause moderate to heavy damage to sturdy or earthquake-resistant buildings. Damaging in large areas. Felt in extremely large regions. Death toll ranges from 1,000 to 1 million.
An earthquake from 8 to 9 on the scale is largely considered a once a year event, globally, while a 9 or above is considered to be something that only happens once every 10 to 50 years. The richter scale spans 1 through 9 for intensity with 9 being the most intense. The quake damaged highways, caused blackouts and fires across Chile and shook buildings across the country.
The tsunami triggered by the quake also traveled outward from the Chilean coast with simulations indicating that higher waves could travel as far as the southern California coast, and Indonesia. This has happened before.
Southern Chile produced the most powerful earthquake on record, a magnitude 9.5 earthquake in 1960, which killed thousands around the city of Valdivia, and brought tsunamis to Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines and the U.S. West Coast.
Tsunami alerts continue to be in place in Indonesia as of this writing with authorities warning citizens that waves as high as half a meter could hit the coasts of Java, Bali, Sulawesi and Borneo.