The United States Geological Survey recorded a total of nine Earthquake with Magnitudes of between 4.0 and 6.6 at depths of between 10 and 55 km, along the coast of northern Chile over the period 29-31 October 2013. Several of these quakes were felt over wide areas, with reports of buildings swaying in Santiago and other cities, though there have been no reports of any significant damage or injuries.
Earthquakes along the Chile coast, 29-31 October 2013. Google Maps.
Chile is located on the west coast of South America, which is also the convergent margin between the Nazca and South American Plates. The Nazca Plate is being subducted beneath the South American Plate and is sinking beneath the South American Plate. This is not a smooth process, the rocks of the two plates continuously stick together then, as the pressure builds up, break apart again, causing Earthquakes. As the Nazca Plate sinks deeper it is partially melted by the friction and the heat of the Earth's interior. Some of the melted material then rises up through the overlying South American Plate as magma, fueling the volcanoes of the Chilean Andes.
See also Magnitude 4.2 Earthquake in northern Chile, Magnitude 5.5 Earthquake in northeast Chile, Evacuations ordered after activity on Copahue, Eruption on Mount Copahue and Earthquake off the coast of Chiloé Island, Chile.
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