The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is reporting a strong 6.7-magnitude earthquake in Chile this afternoon (January 30, 2013). Reuters reports that the earthquake shook buildings “as far away as the capital, Santiago, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.”
Here are the details of the event from USGS:
2013-01-30 20:15:43 UTC
2013-01-30 17:15:43 UTC-03:00 at epicenter
44km (27mi) N of Vallenar, Chile
100km (62mi) SSW of Copiapo, Chile
197km (122mi) NNE of La Serena, Chile
204km (127mi) NNE of Coquimbo, Chile
586km (364mi) N of Santiago, Chile
Chile is on the so-called Ring of Fire, an area bordering the Pacific Ocean where earthquakes and other tectonic activity are common. Along the western edge of South America, there is a plate boundary between the Nazca plate and the South America plate. It’s where the oceanic crust and lithosphere of the Nazca plate begin their descent into the mantle beneath South America. This movement of great land plates is what causes earthquakes to happen frequently in this part of the world. On February 27, 2010, an 8.8-magnitude earthquake happened off the coast of central Chile. Its intense shaking lasting for about three minutes. The earthquake killed hundreds of people and caused billions of dollars in damages. The 2010 8.8-magnitude earthquake in Chile still ranks as the sixth-largest earthquake ever to be recorded by a seismograph.
Bottom line: A 6.7-magnitude earthquake struck in Chile on January 30, 2013. No reports of injuries or damages.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.