Thursday 26 September 2013

Magnitude 7.0 Earthquake off the coast of Peru.

The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 7.0 Earthquake at a depth of 40 km, roughly 17 km off the coast of southern Peru, slightly after 11.40 am local time (slightly after 4.40 pm GMT) on Wednesday 25 September 2013. This is a large quake with the potential to cause severe damage, and has reportedly triggered several landslides and caused partial or complete damage to at least seventy buildings in nearby areas, with adobe structures being particularly badly affected. The quake also caused damage at a number of copper and iron mines, with at least seven miners being injured, some severely, at different sites, though it appears that early reports of fatalities were inaccurate. Another ten people are thought to have been injured in Earthquake-related accidents outside of mines. The quake was felt as far away as Lima, 500 km to the north of the epicenter, and in northern Chile, 500 km to the southeast.

The approximate location of the 25 September 2013 Peru Earthquake. Google Maps.

Peru is on the west coast of South America and the western margin of the South American Plate, close to where the Nazca Plate, which underlies part of the east Pacific, is being subducted along the Peru-Chile Trench. The Nazca Plate passes under the South American Plate as it sinks into the Earth, this is not a smooth process and the plates repeatedly stick together then break apart as the pressure builds up, causing Earthquakes. As the Nazca Plate sinks further it is partially melted by the friction and the heat of the Earth's interior. Some of this melted material then rises through the overlying South American Plate, fueling the volcanoes of Peru and neighboring countries.

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