Sunday 28 February 2021

Magnitude 5.5 Earthquake off the coast of Peru.

The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 5.5 Earthquake at a depth of 9.7 km, roughly 81 km off the coast of Islay Province in Peru, slightly after 9.15 pm local time on Saturday 27 February 2021 (slighty after 2.15 am on Sunday 28 February, GMT). There are no reports of any damage or casualties associated with this event, although it was felt on the coast of southern Peru.

The approximate location of the 27 February 2021 Islay Earthquake. USGS.

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, fuelling the volcanoes of Peru and neighbouring countries.

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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