Friday 6 July 2012

Earthquake off the coast of Chiloé Island, Chile.

On Friday 6 July 2012, slightly after 2.15 am local time (slightly after 6.15 am GMT), an Earthquake occurred off the east coast of Chiloé Island in souther Chile, roughly 33 km northeast of the island's capitol, Castro, at a depth of 13.1 km, according to the United States Geological Survey, who measured the quake as magnitude 5.0 on the Richter Scale. This is large enough and shallow enough that it is likely to have been felt on the Island, though there are no reports of any damage or casualties. 

Map showing the location of the 6 June 2012 Earthquake. USGS.

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. 

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