Sunday 20 October 2013

Magnitude 5.0 Earthquake in southwest Santa Cruz Department, Bolivia.

The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 5.0 Earthquake at a depth of 36.2 km in the southwest of Santa Cruz Department, Bolivia, roughly 76 km south of the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, slightly before 4.15 pm local time (slightly before 8.15 pm GMT) on Tuesday 15 October 2013. There are no reports of any damage or casualties associated with this event, though it is likely to have been felt over a wide area.

The approximate location of the 15 October Bolivian Earthquake. Google Maps.

Bolivia 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 Bolivian Andes. 

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