Monday 13 January 2014

Magnitude 5.0 Earthquake in southern Tolima, Columbia.

The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 5.0 Earthquake at a depth of 28.4 km in southern Tolima Department, Columbia, at about 7.50 am local time (about 12.50 pm GMT) on Thursday 9 January 2014. There are no reports of any damage or casualties associated with this event, but people reported feeling heavy shaking up to 160 km away from the epicenter.

The approximate location of the 9 January 2013 Tolima Earthquake. Google Maps.

Columbia 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 Columbia and neighboring countries.

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