EOTW #5 – 2015 M8.3 earthquake in Chile

There have been a few recent hazardous events that could have been much worse. One of these is the 2015 magnitude 8.3 Illapel earthquake that struck 46 km offshore of Illapel Chile, about 177 miles north of the nation’s capital of Santiago. This earthquake caused a tsunami that traveled across the Pacific ocean, triggering tsunami warnings from Hawaii to Japan and to California. There is a really cool animation showing the propagation of the tsunami, which created a pattern of standing waves across the Pacific Ocean Basin about 24 hours later:

Although this event was truly a great earthquake and caused much greater shaking than the 2015 Nepal M7.9 earthquake, or the 2010 Haiti M7.0 earthquake, it resulted in about 10 fatalities. In contrast, about 8,000 people lost their lives during the Nepal earthquake and nearly 200,000 lost their lives during the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

Read the following articles, and answer the questions below:

Popular Science article on 2015 Chile earthquake and tsunami

New York Times Article on the 2015 Chile event

  1. Why did the Chilean event result in tremendously low loss of life compared with Nepal and Haiti?
  2. Approximately how many people were evacuated during the tsunami warning?
  3. Explain one reason why Chile is so well-prepared compared with other countries like Haiti and Nepal?

13 thoughts on “EOTW #5 – 2015 M8.3 earthquake in Chile”

  1. 1. Why did the Chilean event result in tremendously low loss of life compared with Nepal and Haiti?
    About 8,000 people died in the Nepal quake whole only an estimated people died in Chile. There are a number of reasons for this, the first being the location. The location of the Nepal quake happened about 50 miles outside a heavily populated area compared to the Chilean quake which took place over 140 miles away. Another factor is that Chile was prepared for the event.

    1. Approximately how many people were evacuated during the tsunami warning? With a tsunami looking like it would take place, one million people from the coast were evacuated to higher ground.
    1. Explain one reason why Chile is so well-prepared compared with other countries like Haiti and Nepal?
    Chili has a history of earthquakes which has created stricter building codes and they have had extensive educational campaigns teaching people how to prepare. Chili is also constantly changing protocol on how to respond to these type of natural disasters.

  2. Why did the Chilean event result in tremendously low loss of life compared with Nepal and Haiti?

    There are two main factors the limited the loss of life during the Chile earthquake in 2015; distance and readiness. The Nepal earthquake that killed 8,000 people was only 50 miles away from the capital, Kathmandu, meanwhile the earthquake in Chile was much further away from a large population center, 140 miles away from the capital city of Santiago. In addition Chile is extremely prone to large earthquake, so people and infrastructure is ready to handle events like these. Meanwhile in a developing nation like Nepal, the infrastructure and people aren’t ready for these events due to looser building codes and smaller disaster relief budgets.

    Approximately how many people were evacuated during the tsunami warning?

    Due to Chile being a very long, coastal nation with a nearly ~2,700 mile coast, about one million people were in the path of danger during this event and had to evacuate their homes. Thanks to a quick and orderly response by prepared residents, the Tsunami struck without a massive loss of life. However, the flooding did destroy ports and some buildings along the coastline.

    Explain one reason why Chile is so well-prepared compared with other countries like Haiti and Nepal?

    Building codes in Chile are very strict compared to many nations around the world.
    https://www.cnn.com/2014/04/02/world/americas/chile-earthquake/index.html
    This article by CNN highlights how important building codes and and just how prepared Chile is by taking safety and infrastructure very seriously. In comparison Haiti generally lacks building codes completely, and because of this, the 7.0 that struck near Port-au-Prince killed over 230,000 people, with most deaths avoidable if proper regulations were in place for building.

  3. Some of the significant differences are the locations that the quakes took place. There were larger distances for the quake to dissipate energy prior to arriving in the populated areas in Chile. Chile has significantly different building codes than Nepal or Haiti. The systems are almost noncomparable in the level of construction.
    Public education and reaction to the Chile quake were evident with people evacuating to higher ground. Nearly one million people made the attempt to evacuate.

  4. 1. Why did the Chilean event result in tremendously low loss of life compared with Nepal and Haiti?

    Milder shaking in densely populated areas of Chile contributed to a lower number of casualties than Nepal and Haiti. Nepal’s initial quake transpired around fifty miles outside Kathmandu, the nation’s capital (Griggs, 2015). Chile’s earthquake happened offshore, one-hundred-forty miles from their capital (Griggs, 2015). Another reason Chile suffered fewer casualties was by focusing on disaster preparedness. Strict building codes and educational campaigns teaching residents how to react in disaster situations reduced risk (Griggs, 2015).

    2. Approximately how many people were evacuated during the tsunami warning?

    Mahmud Aleuy, Chile’s under secretary of the Interior, said one million people were evacuated during the tsunami warning (Bonnefoy & Romero, 2015).

    3. Explain one reason why Chile is so well-prepared compared with other countries like Haiti and Nepal?

    Chile is nestled between the South American Plate, and Nazca Plate, so earthquakes are not an uncommon occurrence. Being in a tectonically active region of the world led Chile to enhance their preparation and risk reduction measures. After a 2010 earthquake the Chilean government created a “massive network of seismic sensors” capable of issuing warnings to residents after detecting earthquakes or tsunamis (Griggs, 2015).

    References
    Bonnefoy, P., & Romero, S. (2015, September 16). In Chile, Earthquakes Forces One Million to Evacuate. Retrieved from The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/17/world/americas/chile-earthquake.html
    Griggs, M. B. (2015, September 17). Why Chile’s Huge Earthquake Wasn’t Much Worse. Retrieved from Popular Science: https://www.popsci.com/why-chiles-huge-earthquake-wasnt-worse

  5. 1. Why did the Chilean event result in tremendously low loss of life compared with Nepal and Haiti?

    There are 3 main factors to the number of lives lost.
    First, the earthquake was farther away from populated areas compared to the Nepal and Haiti. The Nepal quake, for example, occurred 50 miles away from a heavily populated area while the Chilean quake was 140 miles away from the capital of Santiago.
    Secondly, The government put a lot of funding into earthquake early warning systems throughout there country and make stricter building regulations to help infrastructure and warn the population as soon as possible.
    Thirdly, Chili has seen many earthquakes in the past so the prevent loss of life, the government has put a lot of funding and effort into educating the people of Chili for future earthquakes. It paid off, they got a million people off the coastline before there were even signs of waves. that is impressive.

    2. Approximately how many people were evacuated during the tsunami warning?

    One million people were evacuated to high ground!

    3. Explain one reason why Chile is so well-prepared compared with other countries like Haiti and Nepal?

    As I talked about in question 1, The Chilian government put funding in earthquake early warning systems and educating the population of Chile about how to survive an earthquake. Other countries should do the same.

  6. Why did the Chilean event result in tremendously low loss of life compared with Nepal and Haiti?
    The initial quake in Nepal occurred around 50 miles outside the heavily populated capital of Kathmandu, while the Chilean quake occurred over 140 miles northwest of the capital of Santiago. Less shaking in a major population center helped limit casualties.

    Approximately how many people were evacuated during the tsunami warning?
    One million

    Explain one reason why Chile is so well-prepared compared with other countries like Haiti and Nepal?
    Chile has had past experience with earthquakes. There are extensive educational campaigns that are aimed at teaching people the proper steps to take in a disaster. Building codes are also very strict. After the 2010 quake, the Chilean government funded and deployed a massive network of seismic sensors, able to detect earthquakes and tsunamis as they happen, and issue warnings to the general population.

  7. Chile fared better in their earthquake than both Haiti and Nepal for a couple of reasons. First was that the epicenter of Chile’s earthquake was further from population centers in the country, while the Nepalese and Haitian earthquakes were more than twice as close to massive cities. Also, the building codes and engineering in Chile are much more rigorous than those in Nepal and Haiti. Haiti is known for having large areas of shantytown, with huts made from extremely rudimentary materials that are structurally unsound. Chile is also very well prepared for earthquakes compared to the other two countries. The government has more money, and has placed more of an emphasis on earthquake safety knowledge for its citizens.
    More than one million people were evacuated during the tsunami warning.
    One of the reasons that Chile is so much better prepared for earthquakes than Nepal or Haiti is the overall level of development. Chile is much more up-to-date overall, with fewer poor citizens that might live somewhere that isn’t structurally sound. Also, Haiti’s population density is more than ten times that of Chile, and Haitians have way less choice in terms of areas to which they can evacuate in case of an emergency.

  8. 1. Why did the Chilean event result in tremendously low loss of life compared with Nepal and Haiti?

    In 2015, Chile experienced a M8.3 earthquake, which resulted in 8 deaths. The low loss of life is because of its location 46 km offshore and because Chile is a seismically active country that is prepared for large earthquakes.

    The fact that the earthquake occurred 177 miles north of Santiago, Chile’s capitol city meant that the earthquake waves had to propagate a greater distance before reaching the city. This distance caused in the wave to dissipate and resulted in milder shaking in densely populated areas. In contrast, the 2015 Nepal M7.9 earthquake occurred just 50 miles outside of the countries heavily populated capitol and resulted in 8000 deaths.

    Additionally, because of Chile’s location on the boundary of two converging plates, it is prone to large earthquakes. To combat this Chile enforces stricter building codes and utilizes engineering standards that can withstand frequent large earthquakes. Unlike Chile, the infrastructure in Nepal and Haiti were not build to withstand large earthquakes.

    2. Approximately how many people were evacuated during the tsunami warning?

    Following the M8.3 earthquake offshore, Chile’s national emergency service ordered the evacuation of 1 million people to higher ground.

    3. Explain one reason why Chile is so well-prepared compared with other countries like Haiti and Nepal?

    Chile was so well prepared compared to Nepal and Haiti because past earthquakes have prompted country leaders to prepare for future events. This preparedness resulted in strong infrastructure, public education movements, and seismic monitoring systems, which were put in place to identify, warn, and withstand large earthquakes.

  9. Why did the Chilean event result in tremendously low loss of life compared with Nepal and Haiti?
    The Chilean event resulted in lower loss than the Nepal and the Haiti event largely because of the locations of the earthquakes. The one in Chili occurred approximately 140 miles away from the city, while the quake for Nepal was only 50 miles away. With less shaking, tends to come less casualties. The preparedness of Chili also helped to promote less casualties.

    Approximately how many people were evacuated during the tsunami warning?
    Approximately one million people were evacuated.

    Explain one reason why Chile is so well-prepared compared with other countries like Haiti and Nepal?
    Chile has extremely strict building codes because they experience so many earthquakes. There is also an education system in place meant to teach the general public about earthquakes and tsunamis to promote safe actions during an occurrence.

  10. Why did the Chilean event result in tremendously low loss of life compared with Nepal and Haiti? In Chili, they have had a great deal of experience with devastating earthquakes in the past. They have since updated their building codes to adhere to strict standards. The location of this quake was over 140 miles from Santiago as well. In Haiti, their earthquake occurred just 50 miles from the nearest metropolis.

    Approximately how many people were evacuated during the tsunami warning? Nearly 1 million people were evacuated. This success was due to an extensive educational program aimed at teaching people the steps to take during a disaster.

    Explain one reason why Chile is so well-prepared compared with other countries like Haiti and Nepal? Chili is not a 3rd world country like Haiti. Many of the buildings in Haiti were tall, brick and mortar. These structures crack and fall easily. These buildings fell and caused many of the deaths associated with the quake. http://insidedisaster.com/haiti/the-quake/why-was-the-destruction-so-severe

    In Nepal, the people located outside of Kathmandu were poor substance farmers who lacked the money to build homes that could survive such a disaster. The government of Nepal typically builds the government, and not infrastructure of the rural areas. Mud walls, straw roofs are the typical construction types here. Sindhupalchowk saw over 64,000 homes destroyed. This area was impoverished with homes built with inadequate construction. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2015/06/09/why-was-the-nepali-earthquake-so-devastating-because-of-its-governments-political-failings/?utm_term=.35079cd8d115

  11. 1. There are plenty of reasons why the loss of life was so low during the Chilean earthquake compared to the earthquake in Nepal, bust the most crucial reason is the location of the Earthquake. The earthquake in Nepal’s focus was roughly 50 miles outside of Kathmandu, the highly populated capital of Nepal, while the focus of the Chilean earthquake was over 140 miles away from Santiago. The 90 miles difference can account for most of the discrepancy between the events.

    2. Nearly 1 million people responded to the tsunami warning and evacuated.

    3. Persistent large shaking events prompted Chile to better prepare for large Earthquakes. This included a free education system designed to inform the general public of the safety procedures needed to be taken before, during and after an earthquake. Additionally, Chile implemented stricter building codes that third-world nations like Haiti and Nepal can’t afford to enforce.

  12. Why did the Chilean event result in tremendously low loss of life compared with Nepal and Haiti?
    One reason would be the fact that the epicenter of the Chilean quake was about 150 miles from the nearest heavily populated area, while in Nepal there was a close distance of 50 miles from Kathmandu, the Capital. Another reason is sadly the residents in Haiti tend to build crude shelters for homes, easily destroyed in a moderate earthquakes. Large residential and government buildings lack flexibility in there construction and are brittle, giving them little to no earthquake resistance making them death traps. all but one government building was destroyed by the quake, as well as with 60% of the country’s hospitals, and 80% of its schools.

    Approximately how many people were evacuated during the tsunami warning?
    about one million residents were evacuated from the coastal area to higher ground inland.

    Explain one reason why Chile is so well-prepared compared with other countries like Haiti and Nepal?
    After the 2010 earthquake, the Chilean government paid to have a network of seismic sensors and monitoring equipment installed giving them the ability to warn residents of any incoming tsunamis giving them just enough time to get to higher ground, this shows the government is in a much better position than Haiti or Nepal when it come to funding for monitoring and mitigation.

  13. The 2015 Chilean earthquake event resulted in the low loss of life compared to the Nepal and Haiti earthquakes mainly because of the location of the earthquake. In Chile, the earthquake occurred about 177 miles north of the capital city of Santiago, a greater distance compared to Nepal the was 50 miles from the heavily populated city of Kathmandu, and Haiti where the quake occurred 17 miles outside of the capital of Port-au-Prince.

    Another factor that reduced the loss of life was that the country of Chile was prepared and has education campaigns for what to do in an earthquake and tsunami situation. Because of the education and level of preparedness over one million people were swiftly evacuated from Chile onto higher ground.

    The extensive education campaigns have helped the country of Chile along with strict building codes compared to other earthquake-prone countries around the world.

    https://www.britannica.com/event/Haiti-earthquake-of-2010

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