Monday 28 December 2020

Magnitude 6.7 Earthquake off the coast of southern Chile.

The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 6.7 Earthquake at a depth of 10.0 km, off the coast of southern Chile, roughly 146 km to the northwest of the port of Corral in Valdivia Province, slightly before 6.40 pm local time (slightly before 10.40 pm local time) on Sunday 27 December 2020. There are no reports of any injuries associated with this event, but people have reported feeling it over a wide area.

The location of the 27 December 2020 Valdivia Province 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 heat of the Earth's interior. Some of the melted material then rises up through the overlying South American Plate as magma, fuelling the volcanoes of the Chilean Andes.

The subduction of the Nazca Plate beneath the South American Plate, and how it causes Earthquakes and volcanoes. Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center.

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