Chile: 170 earthquakes in the village Navidad

December 12, 2012. One push occurred in the middle of the night. Another fisherman found on the shore. Then again jolted by a dinner. And again, and again, more than 170 aftershocks occurred in Navidad in just five weeks. The most powerful of these occurred during the funeral and frightened people ran out into the street.

Navidad, a small farm town on the coast, a population of 5,500 inhabitants, is the most seismically unstable place in one of the most seismically dangerous countries in the world. And seismologists can not say for sure if it was the echo of the devastating earthquake in Chile two years ago, or the harbingers of a new catastrophe.

Navidadtsy yet learned how to relate to earthquakes philosophically.

The city, whose name translates as "Christmas", some decorating Christmas trees, remembering about the earthquake: jewelry wire bolted to the branches, and further strengthen the crossbar. Restaurant owners nailed to the shelves bumpers to glasses and bottles from falling to the floor. Some have switched to canned beer, glass bottles, considering it too dangerous.

The children in the schools every day going through special training, and it seems everyone in possession of "disturbing bag" with flashlights and food.

"We were born, raised and live in earthquakes — said incumbent Mayor Rodrigo Soto. — And the world as if for the first time noticed Navidad. Everyone is asking, not scary to us, but we can only reply that we have to be ready for anything.

But no amount of preparation can not save a sense of panic when the ground starts to rumble. No one can predict whether the aftershocks will end quickly or all would be much worse.

When the earth shook at the funeral, the faces of people in the church grew pale as a corpse. Despite appeals for calm, the church rocked so hard that people are in a panic ran out.

"People were horrified — Carolina Jeryl said, remembering an earthquake of magnitude 5.6 on November 21. — At this point you lose control. We strongly experienced due to shock, because a major earthquake in 2010 seized us by surprise. "

Soto said that the city is still an inefficient security alert system for tsunamis: siren that sounds like a car alarm, and not loud enough to be heard over her in the city. But after so many earthquakes navidadtsy gut smell when to run.

They know that they hardly notice the tremors of magnitude 2.0, but an earthquake of magnitude 7.0 will knock them off their feet and it's definitely a sign to flee to higher ground to escape the tsunami.

But with the exception of earthquakes, life in the Navidad flows slowly. Many farmers still plow the land with oxen, while others cater to tourists who came to the Pacific beaches of Santiago, capital of Chile. While many are on edge.

Not only tremors remind people of the danger. Along the highway leading into the city, are overgrown with wild flowers warning signs that urge people to build their houses on high ground and be prepared in case anything happens to run there, where even higher.

Recent tremors did not cause any significant damage or destruction, however, they are constantly reminded of the magnitude 8.8 earthquake and ensuing tsunami in 2010 year, which destroyed much on the Chilean coast, including Navidad. That earthquake killed 551 people, was destroyed about 220,000 homes, washed away in the sea docks and resorts — it cost Chile $ 30 billion, about 18% of annual GDP.

None of the locals did not perish, but about 200 homes were destroyed or severely damaged, and most of the inhabitants were left for a month without water and electricity.

"During the 2010 earthquake zone of destruction reached Navidad. That's why seismologists at Universidad de Chile said that it may be aftershocks — aftershocks following the main quake, "- says Miguel Ortiz, head of the center for early warning ONEMI (National Emergency Service under the Ministry of the Interior). However, he also said that the recent tremors may harbingers of an approaching earthquake.

An international team of scientists says that the probability is very strong earthquake significantly increased along the entire length of the Chilean coast due to the earthquake 2010. In his report in the journal Nature Geoscience last year, they come to the conclusion that in this earthquake freed only part of the underground stress that has accumulated since the earthquake in 1835, recorded an English naturalist Charles Darwin.

Near the Chilean coast Nazca lithospheric plate sinks beneath the South American continent, pushing the Andes to even greater heights. Earthquake 2010 was so strong that the time has changed, reducing a little earth day due to changes in the frequency of rotation of the planet. The strongest recorded in history earthquake also occurred in Chile in 1960, and was a magnitude 9.5. It happened about 800 kilometers south of Navidad, killing more than 5,000 people.

"What amazes me most in Chile is her beauty, the conjugate at the same time with great probability of disasters — from powerful earthquakes to volcanic eruptions, much like California," — says Paul Caruso, a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey National.

"Movement of the crust leads to earthquakes, but also creates beautiful mountains, active volcanoes, a variety of climate — from very cold to desert — says Caruso. — This is an amazing place, especially for geophysics. "

Navidadtsy cope with it in different ways.

Retro Carmen Delgado so much haunted by the memory of the crash of 2010, which she often does not sleep at night, shivering and waiting impatiently for the sunrise to go to work as a waitress at a local restaurant — only to take something down.

"People are scared, because the last time shaking so much," — said Karen Kantreras, eighteen year old waitress at the restaurant La Boca, which is about traveling, between green hills and rivers.

"The land was still shaking, but at least everyone knows where to evacuate, if strong tochok, "- she added.

The school Divina Gabriela children every day and run out of the offices are being built by the sound of rusty white bells. There is an annual exercise, how to behave during an earthquake.

"I stocked up canned food, flashlights and batteries, because we are very frightened by these incessant aftershocks — says Valentina Villagran, 11 years old. — Every child knows that you have to run to the hills. "

Evelyn Perez, 31 year, studying to be a teacher and she was seven months pregnant when she was awakened by an earthquake 2010 year. She pulled on a cold, dark street three children, with no reserves for emergencies. Now she keeps "a disturbing bag" at the front door.

At Hernan Kipidy, eighty-two years old, a beautiful view of the ocean from the porch. He remembers the night the tsunami swept him and he clung to the roots of bushes and lost false teeth, almost blown into the sea.

"I came back here just last year, and now pushes back old memories — says Kipida. — It seems that before so did not shake. No one knows what will happen, but only say the new earthquake will be far worse than the past. "

Translation: Anastasia Antoshkina
Source: Washington Post

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