Tuesday 20 August 2013

Magnitude 5.5 Earthquake in northeast Chile.

The United States Geological Survey has reported a Magnitude 5.5 Earthquake that took place at a depth of 111.7 km in the northeast of Chile, close to the border with Bolivia, that took place slightly before 3.40 pm local time (slightly before 7.40 pm GMT) on Moday 19 August 2013. This is a moderately large Earthquake, but very deep and in a remote region, so it is unlikely to have caused any damage or casualties, though it was reportedly felt on both sides of the border.

The approximate location of the 19 August 2013 Chile Earthquake. 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. 

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