Did You Know? 47 Valdivia Earthquake Facts For You | Kidadl

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Did You Know? 47 Valdivia Earthquake Facts For You

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The Valdivia earthquake is also known as the Great Chilean earthquake and occurred on May 22, 1960.

The 1960 Valdivia earthquake is known as the most powerful earthquake in history, measuring between 9.4 to 9.6 on the moment magnitude scale. The earthquake occurred in the afternoon and lasted for about 10 minutes.

The 1960 Valdivia earthquake was part of a series of strong earthquakes that occurred between May 21 to June 6, 1960, and affected Chile to a large extent. The first three earthquakes, which were also the world's topmost by magnitude, are known as the Concepción earthquakes.

The Valdivia earthquake is known as one of the strongest earthquakes that ever occurred on the planet, with major destruction to Chile and its surrounding areas, but especially to the city of Valdivia.

The monetary damage caused by the Valdivia earthquake was estimated to be around $400-800 million in 1960, which today can be valued at $3-6 billion.

The Magnitude Of The Valdivia Earthquake

The Valdivia earthquake, or the Great Chilean earthquake, is the largest earthquake that occurred in the 20th century. The earthquake took place on May 22, 1960, in southern Chile at a magnitude of 9.4-9.6.

The disaster occurred in the Pacific Ocean, 100 mi (160 km) off the coast of Chile.

Several tremors were felt the previous day as a warning sign of the impending danger. Out of those, one main tremor with a magnitude of 8.1 struck the city of Concepción on the south-central Chilean coast.

The Great Chilean earthquake was caused by tension released by the Nazca plate as it slid beneath the South American plate.

This disastrous earthquake caused many tsunamis and landslides due to seismic tremors felt on Earth.

The 1960 Valdivia earthquake was a megathrust earthquake of the 20th century.

The Great Chilean earthquake is thus called a megathrust earthquake because it occurred in subduction zones.

Subduction is the phenomenon that occurs at the concurrent boundaries of tectonic plates because of the movement of the plates one over the other, and the regions where this process takes place are called subduction zones.

The South American plate is one of the tectonic plates that is under South America and the Atlantic Ocean.

The Nazca plate is one of the oceanic tectonic plates in the Pacific Ocean near the west coast of South America.

The 1960 Valdivia earthquake's epicenter was around 100 mi (160 km) from the Chilean coast in the Pacific Ocean near the town of Lumaco.

Duration Of The Valdivia Earthquake

The 20th century's largest earthquake occurred on May 22, 1960, in the afternoon around 3 p.m., and it lasted for about 10 minutes. This earthquake hit the entirety of Chile, from Talca to Chiloé Island, covering around 1,50,000 sq mi (4,00,000 sq km).

Before the powerful Valdivia earthquake occurred, three earthquakes hit Chile, which was seen as a warning before the main earthquake.

The series of three preceding earthquakes are called the 1960 Concepción earthquakes.

The first earthquake hit Concepción on May 21, 1960, around 6 am with a magnitude of 8.1.

The second earthquake took place on the next day, on May 22, 1960, at around 6:30 am, with a magnitude of 6.8, and the third one occurred 15 minutes before the Valdivia earthquake, at around 2:55 pm with a magnitude of 7.9.

Destruction Caused By The Valdivia Earthquake

The 1960 Valdivia earthquake is known as the largest earthquake that occurred in the 20th century. The affected areas were the cities of Puerto Montt and Valdivia, with widespread damage.

This megathrust earthquake had its epicenter near Lumaco, a city south of Santiago.

The earthquake lasted for 10 minutes, occurring along the subduction zone at the concurrence of the Nazca plate and South American plate.

The main earthquake was preceded and followed by several other earthquakes with magnitudes above seven, along with some weak tremors that continued for a month.

This earthquake impacted the entirety of Chile, including Talca and Chiloé Island.

Valdivia's electricity and water systems were destroyed.

Train stations and other buildings in and around the affected cities were wrecked.

Major destruction also occurred due to the tsunami caused as a result of the earthquake.

The tsunami impacted southern Chile, Hawaii, the Philippines, Japan, southeast Australia, eastern New Zealand, and the Aleutian Islands.

More than 2 million people became homeless due to the destruction caused by the earthquake and tsunami.

Telecommunication was completely cut off in the affected areas.

The estimated number of fatalities due to the quake and tsunami was around 490-5700.

The rupture zone is said to have been about 621.4 mi (1000 km) from Lebu to Puerto Aysen.

Several towns near the Chilean coast were flooded due to an almost 80 ft (24.4 m) high tsunami.

The tsunami caused the loss of millions of dollars at Hilo Bay on the island of Hawaii, and also killed around 61 people.

Around 32 people died in the Philippines due to the tsunami.

Two days after the occurrence of the largest earthquake in Chile, a volcano located in the Lake District of Chile called the Cordón Caulle (which had remained inactive for 40 years) erupted, and this was linked to the quake as per a geological survey.

It is estimated that many other volcanoes must have also erupted but could not be recorded as there was no communication in Chile then due to the disasters.

More than 1,45,000 buildings were damaged, and half of the buildings in Valdivia became uninhabitable.

Geological survey reports from the United States say that many buildings were left below water level due to the tsunami near the Chilean coast.

The tsunami that struck the Chilean coast also affected the farms and livestock near the seaside.

The tsunami caused due to the earthquake saw waves as high as 35 ft (10.7 m), and 6,213.7 mi (10,000 km) from the epicenter which reached as far as Japan and the Philippines.

Basic Facts About Earthquakes

An earthquake is a tremor on the Earth's surface caused due to a sudden slip on a fault. Natural disasters like volcanic eruptions and the impact of meteors may also cause earthquakes.

Millions of earthquakes occur annually, out of which around 20,000 are major ones.

An earthquake can also impact the rotation of the Earth, affecting the length of the day. As per scientists, the Valdivia earthquake caused a shift in the Earth's axis, shortening the day's length by 1.26 microseconds.

Water in ponds, lakes, and canals will start giving off an unpleasant odor and turn warm before an earthquake occurs.

Around 90% of the earthquakes in the world occur around the Ring of Fire, an area in the basin of the Pacific Ocean.

The city of Concepción in Chile was hit by a massive quake in 2010, which destroyed the Earth's crust to such an extent that the city moved 10 ft (3 m) to the west.

An earthquake in 2015 that struck Nepal caused Mount Everest to shrink by an inch.

Earthquakes are said to occur at the edge of tectonic plates.

When these tectonic plates are stuck and try to free themselves, this creates pressure, thus making the plates move suddenly and resulting in an earthquake.

Most of the time, a series of foreshocks occur, hinting at a bigger earthquake that is known as the mainshock.

Some major earthquakes are followed by aftershocks, which are one or more smaller earthquakes.

Aftershocks occur as a result of the Earth's crust adjusting to the impact of the main earthquake.

The waves that travel through the Earth's surface during the earthquake are called seismic waves.

The hypocenter is the place where the earthquake starts, and the ground above the starting point is called the epicenter.

The earthquake that occurred in Chile is the largest earthquake recorded to date, with a reading of 9.5 on the moment magnitude scale. The seismic waves that were recorded by seismographs during this earthquake are said to have traveled across the world, and these waves shook the entire planet for several days.

Written By
Sridevi Tolety

Sridevi's passion for writing has allowed her to explore different writing domains, and she has written various articles on kids, families, animals, celebrities, technology, and marketing domains. She has done her Masters in Clinical Research from Manipal University and PG Diploma in Journalism From Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. She has written numerous articles, blogs, travelogues, creative content, and short stories, which have been published in leading magazines, newspapers, and websites. She is fluent in four languages and likes to spend her spare time with family and friends. She loves to read, travel, cook, paint, and listen to music.

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