Journal Highlights

Study of historic Chilean quake warns of a future tsunami

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The most populated central region of Chile could be vulnerable to large tsunamis generated by a deceptively moderate kind of earthquake that might be overdue, say scientists who have sorted out the source of an earthquake and tsunami that struck the area 287 years ago. The region is the same that trembled from a magnitude 6.9 earthquake on April 24. Historical records and new reconstructions of the 1730 Chile earthquake suggest that part of the megathrust rupture — an unzipping of the Earth’s crust — was relatively shallow. Although the quake struck deep underneath the sea, near the ocean trench off the coast of Valparaiso, the rupture occurred close to the top of the Earth’s crust. Shallow earthquakes like this one that occur deep underneath the ocean are likely to generate tsunamis…more