This earthquake is the largest I've ever heard of. The TV news is saying it is one of the 10 largest. If Haiti's had been this large the deaths would have been in the millions. Chile gets many earthquakes and has better construction standards, but even those didn't prevent massive damage.
An 8.8-magnitude earthquake, one of the largest ever recorded, tore apart houses, bridges and highways in central Chile on Saturday and sent a tsunami racing halfway around the world.
Chileans near the epicentre were tossed about as if shaken by a giant, and authorities said at least 214 people were dead.
The quake was felt as far away as Sao Paulo in Brazil — 900 kilometres to the east. The full extent of damage remained unclear as scores of aftershocks — one nearly as powerful as Haiti's devastating Jan. 12 earthquake — shuddered across the disaster-prone Andean nation.
President Michele Bachelet declared a "state of catastrophe" in central Chile and said the death toll was rising.
"We've learned that it was a shallow thrust earthquake, which means it had the potential to cause a tsunami, which it did in this case," said Jessica Sigala of the U.S. Geological Survey.
"The earthquake in Chile released about 500 times the amount of energy that the earthquake in Haiti did," she told CBC News.
Did you catch that? Five hundred fucking times the magnitude of the Haitian quake. Now this teacher puts the magnitude at 35 times that of the Haiti quake. No link, but I've seen some stories that rate it at 1,000 times. You can decide which number is correct, but they're all pretty damn bad.
The quake struck at 3:34 a.m. local time (1:34 a.m. ET) and was centred 325 kilometres southwest of the capital, Santiago, at a depth of 35 kilometres, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.
In the hours after the 90-second tremor, the U.S. Geological Survey reported 11 aftershocks. The strongest was a magnitude 6.9.
The President of Chile by some accounts had declared a state of catastrophe within 3 hours. Three God damn hours!!1!!! Can we elect her here and set her loose in NOLO?
It appears the earthquake has trumped the killer whale story on CNN.
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