Thursday, 10 January 2013
Valdivia and the 1960 earthquake
We've travelled 800km south from Valparaiso to Valdivia, the city which gives its name to the largest earthquake since the beginning of instrumental records over a century ago. The Valdivia earthquake of 22nd May 1960 measured 9.5 on the moment magnitude scale. The resulting tsunami crested over 25m high in Chile and caused fatalities across the Pacific. The release of built up strain also caused the south American plate to deform, with the area around Valdivia sinking by over two metres. Sea water inundated forests, meadows and parts of the city. You can still see dead trees killed by the salt standing in the estuary.
Yesterday we visited the Seismological Museum in Valdivia, which does a fantastic job of explaining the causes and effects of the 1960 earthquake and the development of modern seismology.
We're heading out around now to see if we can find sedimentary evidence of the Valdivia earthquake and tsunami.