Very strong dangerous earthquake in Chile - Constitucion has received the greatest impact

Earthquake overview : At 06:37 PM a very strong earthquake struck the Talca area in Chile.
"I have Felt it" Reports --> see below + Let us know "how you have felt this earthquake"
To read the full story as it happened, we advise our readers to start at the lower part of the page (earthquake data).
Check also our Chile-only earthquake list
With contributions of Carlos Robles (Spanish speaking)

Keep this page open or return regularly as we will be back with more details when they become available

Structural damage in a school in Constitucion - image courtesy

Update 27/03 - 07:46 UTC :
- A part of the the "Liceo de Constitucion", a school with 800 students, has been seriously damaged.  Engineers are investigating whether the damage is structural or not. There is still a chance that (some) school buildings have to be demolished.
- Subtel has concluded that the Internet ( ER 🙂 ), Text messages (SMS) and social networks (Twitter and Facebook as examples) are absolutely best in case of emergencies. (ER : Subtel confirms what we have concluded ourselves since many many months).
- Chile authorities will investigate why the Marina Arauco shopping mall in Viña del Mar has not followed the ONEMI orders to follow shopping mall parking provisions (parking barriers up or down). Mall management said that it was "only" a tsunami advisory (preventive), not a tsunami alert.  The local authorities will investigate whether this was an infringement or not and will eventually advise ONEMI to further fine-tune the emergency tsunami directory.

Constitucion before the destructive earthquake from February 27 2010 - image courtesy Christian Latorre

Update 18:59 UTC :
ONEMI reports that school classes in Constitución remain suspended until every school has been inspected on possible structural damage. Some parts of Constitución are still without drinking water and electricity. All efforts are made to return to normality. (source : ONEMI situation report 12:42 local time)

Update 13:13 UTC : Miguel Ortiz, the person in charge for early alerts, made the following statement at 09:05 local time :
- An estimated 24,283 people have followed the local ONEMI advise for precautionary evacuation (between the regions of Valparaíso and Bío Bio). Of these, 14,320 people belong to the Bío Bío Region, 9360 to the Maule Region and the rest in the O'Higgins / Valparaiso Region.
- In Maule, power was lost, but has been restored now (8,000 families affected).
- 18 aftershocks have been recorded so far, luckily only 4 of them felt by the population.
- ONEMI sites worked well and were reachable at all times
- The video below has been recorded by an amateur who was filming in the shopping mall of Talca. Talca was only 27 km from the epicenter (following USGS).  Local Chile agencies have located the epicenter closer to the coast.

Update 13:00 UTC :  An earthquake during a football match. Why not simply continue the game ! The commentators are mentioning it, the camera start to wobble and even the stadium speaker announces the earthquake, but .... the game continues.  The game was played in Santiago de Chile against ... Palestino. The Palestinians must have thought that the war was following them (just kidding as Palestino is a Chilean football club). Palestino won with 1-0.

Update 07:38 UTC : So far, Universidad de Chile has listed 15 aftershocks ranging from M3.1 to M 4.8

Recalculated shaking map, based on a Magnitude of 7.1 and a depth of 34.8 km - image courtesy USGS

Important Update 07:38 UTC : Some very interesting analysis on phone traffic has been given by Subtel, the chile telecommunications authority.
- only 15 to 20% of people were able to call other people during the first hours after the earthquake
- SMS (text messages) was a lot better, but due to the overheated networks, not everyone could be served neither.
- The reason : VOICE CALLS are blocking telecommunications because they are consuming far too much bandwidth vs Text messages. 1 voice call of 180 seconds uses the same bandwidth than 100 SMS's (text messages). sees this over and over again in almost every major earthquake worldwide.
The simple solution : Make legislation to oblige mobile telecommunication operators to automatically shut down voice calls (except for emergency services and people who have exceptional reasons to use it), send an SMS (text message) to all clients that explains what is done and for what reason and let them know that only SMS (text) can be used until further message. Most telecommunication software is equipped with cell broadcast.

Update 07:20 UTC : The Chilean government has canceled the preventive evacuation at 23:46 local time.

Update 07:00 UTC : During the early hours after the mainshock, seismological agencies have changed the epicenter a couple of times. USGS did locate the epicenter at first in the Pacific Ocean, approx. 25 km out of the coast. After a recalculation, the epicenter was located below land at 27 km from Talca. EMSC has reported an epicenter also to the NW of Talca. GEOFON puts the epicenter also below land and closer to Constitucion than to Talca, a difference of tens of km.
Universidad de Chile, Santiago, a local trusted seismological agency has reported the the epicenter below the coastal stretch 25 km to the NNE of Constitucion.
Calculation of the epicenter is not easy at all, as can be seen here. Every agency is reporting an error margin both horizontal and vertical. is always searching for an agency who has multiple instruments installed in the earthquake epicentral region.

Update 03:20 UTC : In summary: 1 death (Heart Attack) and 6 injured from this earthquake. Minor damage has occurred in the epicentral region and some power outages were reported. The evacuated people are starting to return to their homes, but as a precautionary measure, the Chile government decision to evacuate was well founded.

Update 03:10 UTC : The copper mines in this part of Chile are operating fine, and there has been no stop to production. Life is returning to normal with the panic subsiding. The memories of the 27th February 2010 earthquake still lingers in the minds of the locals. 

Update 03:00 UTC : The heart attack was to a 74 year old by the name of José Roberto Rebolledo. He lived 2km from the epicenter in Parral. Our condolences go out to the family. He is currently the only victim of this earthquake. No major damage has been reported to houses so it is likely this will be the only death associated with this earthquake.

Update 02:50 UTC : Given that the earthquake hypocenter was below the mainland it is unlikely that a tsunami was triggered, but the preventive evacuation has gone smoothly. 7000 to 25000 people were evacuated. No movement in the sea level has been observed and it is likely the order will be lifted in the coming hours.

1 dead and 6 injured is the current toll. Minor damage has been reported from the epicentral region.

Update :  Twitter users are monitoring the Ocean level and are sharing their findings with newspapers. New reports are telling us that there are still a lot of power outages.

Update 01:17 UTCMaule regional office decided to evacuate the region for PREVENTIVE purposes. 
Official ONEMI message :
Domingo, Marzo 25, 2012 - 22:26
En un punto de prensa realizado desde las oficinas de ONEMI, el Ministro Secretario General de Gobierno, Andrés Chadwick, indicó que la Dirección Regional de ONEMI El Maule, determinó efectuar una evacuación preventiva en el borde costero de la región debido a la observación de recogimiento del mar en la zona. La autoridad recalcó que se trata de una medida preventiva en resguardo de la seguridad de la población.
Cabe destacar, que los Directores Regionales de ONEMI, tienen la facultad, de acuerdo al protocolo firmado con el SHOA el año pasado, de declarar evacuación preventiva en el borde costero al registrarse un sismo igual o superior a VII grados Mercalli, conforme a los antecedentes recopilados tanto a través de observación visual como otros reportes de organismos técnicos.
Update : people are calling to the radio station saying that the sea has not retreated and they will not evacuate.

Update :  The authorities in Chillan have reported that the earthquake did NOT inflicted damage or injuries, just a short congestion of phone traffic.

Update :  ADN Live Radio Chile states that the mayor of Parral, Chile has reported 1 person who didn't survive a heart attack. The man was 70 years old.

Update :  Universidad de Chile is reporting 2 aftershocks, resp.  4.6 the first one and 3.8 the second.

Update :  No further report in the local press on damages or injuries. We counted so far 6 people with light injuries. Nu numbers on eventual damage as yet.

Important Update :  USGS has lowered the Magnitude from 7.2 to 7.1 (a big difference). Depth is now set at 34.8 km. The change in data means that now 9,000 people will have felt a very strong shaking (NO people anymore with a severe shaking). 810,000 people would have experienced a strong shaking (MMI VI) and 1,287,000 people a light shaking.

Update :  - Onemi reports 2 people with light injuries in Maipu and 1 earthquake related car accident with 1 injured person in the BioBio region. This brings the total injured to 6
- SUBTEL phone traffic is still congested between Metropolitana and Bio Bio

Update :  Many Chile twitter reports are mentioning the collapse of a part of the "Talcahuano-Concepcion" near Rancagua.

UpdateWe are truly happy that we have ONLY received I AM SAFE messages from the users of our QUAKESOS iPhone application.

Update :  We are still reading reports of continued power cuts in the Talca area. It is now dark in Chile.

Update :  Chilean Vice President Hinzpeter has called for calm after the very strong to massive earthquake who struck Chile this afternoon. The Chilean President is currently on a state visit to Vietnam.

Update :  Problems are reported along the "Talcahuano-Concepcion" road. Some accidents have occurred and reports are talking about landslides

Update : Mobile communications are very difficult in Santiago but after long trying some work.

Update : Universidad de Chile Santiago has increased the Magnitude from 6.4 to 6.8 (Richter). The depth is now reported as 33.4 km. Both values are stronger than initial reports, but are a lot less severe than the data from other seismological agencies.

Update : 3 injured in Santiago de Chile because of fallen debris in a church(preliminary reports) Landslides have been reported by the Twitter community Power cuts in Maule and O'Higgins

Update : Based on the I Have Felt it reports we have received so far, the shaking lasted for 10 to max. 20 seconds (reports are varying). This is an extremely good sign and we have good hope that this earthquake will not generate major damage or serious injuries.

Update 23:47 UTC :  Chile is a very well earthquake prepared country. Building rules are very stringent and people have regular preparedness drills.

Update :  WAPMERR, the theoretical damage engine is reporting an estimate for this earthquake : 100 to max. 100 injured and 0 to 100 fatalities.

Update : ONEMI has canceled the Precautionary evacuation (for tsunami danger) as SHOA published a report that the earthquake could not generate a tsunami. Onemi Chile calls for preventive evacuations when data are coming in of an earthquake bigger than M 7.0.

Update : CNN Chile report on the earthquake in Spanish

Update : Also ONEMI still reports the Magnitude  of 6.4  and an epicenter at 24 km north-east of Constitucion (we cannot check  it at the moment as we cannot enter the overloaded server)

Update : Mobile networks are OVERLOADED in many parts, including the Metropolitan Santiago de Chile area.

Update : SHOA reports that the earthquake does NOT meet the conditions to generate a tsunami (below land and not powerful enough)

Update : Big parts of the struck area are now without electricity

Update : The server of Universidad de Chile, which we could reach soon after the earthquake and who reported a Magnitude of 6.4 is NO longer reachable since then

Update : Also ONEMI Chile is reporting MMI values up to VIII (severe shaking).  Based on this information, call this earthquake EXTREMELY DANGEROUS

Initial shaking map based on the Magnitude of 7.2

Update : MMI values based on ONEMI data for the different provinces (the RED areas are most at risk for potential damage):
Región: Valparaíso
La Ligua:              II
Valparaíso:      V
Villa Alemana : III
Zapallar:              III
Región: Metropolitana de Santiago
Melipilla:             VI
Peñaflor:             V
Puente Alto:      V
San Bernardo:   VI
Santiago:             VI
Tiltil:      VI
Región: Libertador Bernardo O'Higgins
Navidad:             VI
Paredones:        VI
Pichilemu:          VI
Rancagua:           VI
Región: Maule
VIII Cauquenes, Constitución, Pelluhue, Talca
Linares:                VII
Molina:                VII
Parral:   VII
Pelarco:               VII
Rí¬o Claro:          VII
San Javier:          VI
Villa Alegre:       VII
Región: Biobío
Bulnes:                VI
Chillán:                 VI
Cobquecura:     VII
Concepción:      V
Hualpén:             VI
Laja:      V
Penco: VI
Talcahuano:       VI
Tomé:   VI
Yumbel:               V
Región: La Araucanía
Angol:   V
Carahue:             IV
Collipulli:             IV
Loncoche:           II
Lonquimay:        III
Melipeuco:        V
Padre las Casas:               V
Pucón: IV
Purén: III
Renaico:              V
Saavedra:           IV
Temuco:              V
Teodoro Schmidt:           III
Toltén:                 V
Villarrica:             IV
Región: Los Ríos
Lanco : III
Los Lagos :          III
Mariquina :        III
Paillaco :              II
Panguipulli :       IV
Valdivia :             III
Región: Los Lagos
Puyehue:            III


Update : The Internet server from Armada de Chile (tsunami information) is currently over quota !

Important Update : The epicenter of the earthquake was recalculated and is now placed below land !  The recalculated epicenter is now at only 27 km (16 miles) NNW of Talca, Maule, Chile

Update :  USGS expect that 214,000 people will have experienced a severe MMI VIII shaking. ! Damage cannot be excluded if these values are maintained.

Update :  Armada de Chile has NOT alerted for a tsunami :

Update :  Most agencies have now values ranging from 5.9 to 7.2.
Luckily the epicenter seems to be located in the Pacific Ocean, thus weakening the impact

Very shallow earthquake 98 km from Talca, Chile
Epicenter approx. 20 km out of the coast in the Pacific Ocean
The epicenter is about 250 km from Santiago and people are reporting moderate shaking in Santiago GOOGLE+ / FACEBOOK
"I Have Felt It" reports as received by
See below for all the received Earthquake Experience reports as received by

Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : 7.2 (USGS) - 6.8 Richter (Universidad de Chile)
UTC Time : Sunday, March 25, 2012 at 22:37:04 UTC
Local time at epicenter : Sunday, March 25, 2012 at 06:37:04 PM at epicenter
Depth (Hypocenter) : 30 km
Geo-location(s) :
27 km (16 miles) NNW of Talca, Maule, Chile
55 km (34 miles) WSW of Curico, Maule, Chile
219 km (136 miles) SSW of SANTIAGO, Region Metropolitana, Chile

Links to important maps
USGS Did You Feel It Map
Google satellite map showing the epicenter and the surrounding area
Historic earthquakes map
Seismic hazard map
Shaking map
Focal mechanism report
Human impact map
GDACS earthquake report
SNAM Chile tsunami report

I Have Felt this earthquake

Refresh this list
SRC Location UTC Date/time M D INFO
USGS Maule, Chile Mar 25 22:37 7.1 34 MAP
  • Constitución - Vivo en Constitución (Chile), el epicentro del sismo, la intensisdad se presentó de manera inmediata, sentí como si me fuera a caer al suelo. Las personas subían a los cerros, había un gran descontrol y desinformación, la telefonía celular falló al igual que el suministro eléctrico. Había alerta de tsunami. Horas después nos quedamos sin agua potable. Este sismo fue menor que el del 27F y quedamos totalmente aislados.
  • GEOFON Near Coast Of Central Chile Mar 25 22:37 7.1 25 MAP
    USGS Offshore Maule, Chile Mar 25 22:37 7.2 10 MAP
  • Santiago de Chile - Moderate shaking indicated
  • Concepcion Chili - Secousse assez longue fort mouvement de l'immeuble gd ressenti surtout au 11eme étage
  • Santiago, Chile - Seemed to last a long time, built in intensity. Could hear it and made loose items rattle. A little disquieting ... not use to earthquakes, first time living in an earthquake zone!
  • Santiago - Lasted for 30 seconds Walls were shaking.
  • Santiago Chile - Moderate shaking indicated
  • Santiago Central - I am on the 13th floor of an apartment building. It was swaying form side to side approximately 15 - 20cm at the most, lasting 20 seconds.
  • Los Andes - Was lightly napping when bed started shaking, was surprised at the duration of the quake
  • Chile - Strong shaking indicated
  • Vina del Mar, Chile - We were resting at 7:45pm march 26 2012 and our bed started shaking, for about a minute or so. Nothing else was noticed by is and a minute later our traveling companions called saying they felt the ssme thing.
  • Santiago - It lasted about 10-20 seconds. not sure. It wasn't violent shaking but the building was definitely swaying side to side, not up and down
  • Santiago, Chile - Strong shaking back a forth for a bit less than a minute. It continued to a lesser level afterwards.
  • Valparaiso - Very weak-weak shaking. Windows rattling, that's pretty much it.
  • Santiago,Chile - Strong shaking indicated
  • Santiago Central - On the 25th floor the building was shaking a lot for about 30 sec
  • Santiago Peñalolén - Felt like big horizontal moves. My wife was bathing our son: the water was moved and my wife felt sea sick.
  • Santiago, Chile - Been traveling to Chile for work for 1.5 years. First time i felt jolts vs. rumble/swaying...strong but short in duration.
  • Santiago - The water in the swimming pool spilled
  • Santiago - Lots of shaking and small objects moving around. Water in the pool moved a lot. Lasted longer and was stronger than others recently.
  • Santiago, Chile - Strong shaking indicated
  • Santiago, Chile - Strong, felt very strongly on Level 11 apartment located in Santiago, Chile (central). Mirror fell from wall, no serious damage such as furniture falling or plates cracking.
  • Talca, Chili - Was sterk en langdurig. Gelukkig weinig naschokken tot nu toe. Voorwerpen vielen naar beneden als fotolijsten, shampoo in badkamer etc.
  • Talca - Here in talca, the earthquake was very long and strong, soms things felt down like photo's, cups, bottles etc. But i did not hear reports of people injured. People in the center of talca are without much light and most are in panic. With the memory of 2010 of course when we had here 8.5 richter.
  • Viña Del Mar - Chili - Forte secousse avec grand mouvement du batiment surtout que nous sommes au 15ième étage . Nous avions du mal à marcher droit dans l'appartement , les portes de placards vibraient et les lustres se balancaient très fortement.Sensation très désagréable .
  • Santiago Airport - Stuff falling of shelves in airport shops
  • EMSC Maule, Chile Mar 25 22:37 7.1 1 MAP


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    I felt the shaking *
    Country where you felt the earthquake *
    City/Village where you felt the earthquake *
    Street or suburb (area) where you felt the earthquake
    Latitude (area) where you felt the earthquake
    Longitude (area) where you felt the earthquake
    Shaking Strength *
    MMI II (Very weak shaking) ?
    People :
    Felt by persons at rest, on upper floors or favorably placed.
    MMI III (Weak shaking) ?
    People :
    Felt indoors; hanging objects may swing, vibration similar to passing of light trucks, duration may be estimated, may not be recognized as an earthquake.
    MMI IV (Light shaking) ?
    People :
    Generally noticed indoors but not outside. Light sleepers may be awakened. Vibration may be likened to the passing of heavy traffic, or to the jolt of a heavy object falling or striking the building.
    Fittings :
    Doors and windows rattle. Glassware and crockery rattle. Liquids in open vessels may be slightly disturbed. Standing motorcars may rock.
    Structures :
    Walls and frames of buildings, and partitions and suspended ceilings in commercial buildings, may be heard to creak.
    MMI V (Moderate shaking) ?
    People :
    Generally felt outside, and by almost everyone indoors. Most sleepers awakened. A few people alarmed.
    Fittings :
    Small unstable objects are displaced or upset. Some glassware and crockery may be broken. Hanging pictures knock against the wall. Open doors may swing. Cupboard doors secured by magnetic catches may open. Pendulum clocks stop, start, or change rate.
    Structures :
    Some large display windows cracked. A few earthenware toilet fixtures cracked.
    MMI VI (Strong shaking) ?
    People Felt by all. People and animals alarmed. Many run outside. Difficulty experienced in walking steadily.
    Fittings :
    Objects fall from shelves. Pictures fall from walls. Some furniture moved on smooth floors, some unsecured free-standing fireplaces moved. Glassware and crockery broken. Very unstable furniture overturned. Small church and school bells ring. Appliances move on bench or table tops. Filing cabinets or "easy glide" drawers may open (or shut).
    Structures :
    Slight damage to buildings with low standard. Some stucco or cement plaster falls. Large display windows broken. Damage to a few weak domestic chimneys, some may fall.
    Environment :
    Trees and bushes shake, or are heard to rustle. Loose material may be dislodged from sloping ground, e.g. existing slides, talus slopes, shingle slides.
    MMI VII (Very strong shaking) ?
    General alarm. Difficulty experienced in standing. Noticed by motorcar drivers who may stop.
    Fittings :
    Large bells ring. Furniture moves on smooth floors, may move on carpeted floors. Substantial damage to fragile contents of buildings.
    Structures :
    Unreinforced stone and brick walls cracked. Low standard buildings cracked with some minor masonry falls. A few instances of damage to buildings of ordinary workmanship. Unbraced parapets, unbraced brick gables, and architectural ornaments fall. Roofing tiles, especially ridge tiles may be dislodged. Many unreinforced domestic chimneys damaged, often falling from roof-line. Water tanks Type I burst. A few instances of damage to brick veneers and plaster or cement-based linings. Unrestrained water cylinders (hot-water cylinders) may move and leak. Some common windows cracked. Suspended ceilings damaged.
    Environment :
    Water made turbid by stirred up mud. Small slides such as falls of sand and gravel banks, and small rock-falls from steep slopes and cuttings. Instances of settlement of unconsolidated or wet, or weak soils. Some fine cracks appear in sloping ground. A few instances of liquefaction (i.e. small water and sand ejections).
    MMI VIII (Severe shaking) ?
    People Alarm may approach panic. Steering of motorcars greatly affected. Structures : Low standard buildings heavily damaged, some collapse. ordinary workmanship buildings damaged, some with partial collapse. Reinforced masonry or concrete buildings damaged in some cases. A few instances of damage to buildings and bridges designed and built to resist earthquakes. Monuments and pre-1976 elevated tanks and factory stacks twisted or brought down. Some pre-1965 infill masonry panels damaged. A few post-1980 brick veneers damaged. Decayed timber piles of houses damaged. Houses not secured to foundations may move. Most unreinforced domestic chimneys damaged, some below roof-line, many brought down. Environment : Cracks appear on steep slopes and in wet ground. Small to moderate slides in roadside cuttings and unsupported excavations. Small water and sand ejections and localized lateral spreading adjacent to streams, canals, lakes, etc.
    MMI IX (Violent shaking) ?
    Structures Many low standard buildings destroyed. Ordinary workmanship buildings heavily damaged, some collapse. Reinforced masonry or concrete buildings damaged, some with partial collapse. Buildings and bridges designed and built to resist earthquakes damaged in some cases, some with flexible frames seriously damaged. Damage or permanent distortion to some buildings and bridges, designed and built to normal use standards. Houses not secured to foundations shifted off. Brick veneers fall and expose frames. Environment : Cracking of ground conspicuous. Landsliding general on steep slopes. Liquefaction effects intensified and more widespread, with large lateral spreading and flow sliding adjacent to streams, canals, lakes, etc.
    Tell us your experience and how many seconds the shaking lasted + let us know if your property has been damaged (even slight damage). (max. 500 characters)
    * mandatory fields


    1. Here in talca, the earthquake was very long and strong, soms things felt down like photo's, cups, bottles etc.
      But i did not hear reports of people injured. People in the center of talca are without much light and most are in panic. With the memory of 2010 of course when we had here 8.5 richter.

    2. The Richter magnitude of 6.8 ML from Universidad de Chile Santiago, Chile IS comparable with 7.1 Mw. Two different scales and anyway the Richter scale as at saturation point at that level.