Very strong deep earthquake at the Chile / Peru border - some damage and power cuts reported in both countries

Earthquake overview : A very strong earthquake occurred in the tr--country region of Northern Chile (location of the epicenter), Southern Peru and Western Bolivia.
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Broken streetlight mast in Arica - image courtesy @Siamecita

Important Update 17:40 UTC :
CHILE side of the border
The Tarapaca governor reported earlier today that :
- Some walls have collapsed in the Arica port area
- Power was cut in 15% of Arica's households (3000 families)
- some roads are / where  inaccessible (ie route 5)
The governor also said that local people had the feeling that the quakes intensity was stronger than VI which was reported by Chile's ONEMI.
- Although the authorities never called a tsunami alert as the hypocenter was below land, a lot of people have auto-evacuated to higher grounds
- Luckily there are NO reports of injuries
All these data are for the Chile side of the border
Peru side of the border
- As could be expected, also TACNA had power cuts
- Walls and roofs fall in the area, a water pipe broke in Para sector and cracked windows in stores.
- TACNAschools like “Francisco Antonio de Zela” and “Coronel Bolognesi” showed fissures in walls.
- Landslides in the road of Ilabaya and cracks on irrigation canals of Candarave
- 5 people did jump from their houses causing them to be injured

Update 11:33 UTC :  IGP, Peru has also other earthquake data. Ml5.9 at a depth of 105 km. Epicenter : see below (Peru side of the border). IGP Peru has calculated that based on their earthquake data Tacna would have experienced a MMI IV light shaking and Arequipa a MMI III weak shaking.

Shaking map courtesy USGS

Update 11:03 UTC : ONEMI Chile, the outstanding emergency authority in Chile, is calling the earthquake "mediana intensidad" (moderate intensity).  The strongest Magnitude has been given to Arica (MMI VI or strong shaking). At we use MMI VII as a beginning of chances for serious damage. MMI VI can generate small effects like falling objects, cracks in walls etc.

Update 10:58 UTC : Theoretical calculations (based on USGS data) have reported that 295,000 people will have experienced a MMI V moderate shaking. 1.9 million people a light shaking and 2.24 million people a weak to very weak shaking.

Update 10:53 UTC : Universidad de Chile (to be trusted highly) reports a Magnitude of Ml6.4 at a hupocenter depth of 119.6 km (good but still serious earthquake numbers). Universidad de Chile Santiago, is putting the epicenter close to Tacna, Peru. Both EMSC and USGS have located the epicenter in Chile!

Update 10:52 UTC : Tacna has reported a moderate shaking (MMI V). The earthquake was felt as far as Arequipa in Peru and Arica in Chile. Deep earthquakes are felt in a far wider area than shallow earthquakes.

Update 10:49 UTC : Preliminary earthquake numbers can be very tricky during earthquakes. There is a night and day difference in between the depths of 20 or 90 km. The first can be highly damaging.  These depths are rarely noticed in the area but they occur, so there is no certainly of what really happened at the beginning.

Update 10:47 UTC : We have removed the text "very dangerous"  from the title because the depth value of USGS has changed from 22 km to 98 km.  The Magnitude however has been increased from 5.9 to Mw6.2. In general we can say that a 90+ km depth would only be capable to generate minor damage or injuries. Only a few exceptions can be more damaging.

Update 10:41 UTC : the earthquake occurred at 06:00 AM during the early morning hours when a lot of people are still asleep.  This is always a bad period for earthquakes. On the positive side is that daylight will have started. We have NO reactions from the area as of yet. We call upon our readers from the area to at least give us a few more details on the time that the strong shaking lasted.

Update 10:37 UTC : We have changed the title and have added "very dangerous" to the already existing text. Why ? Because EMSC has increased the Magnitude from 6.0 to 6.4 - Depth at EMSC has been reduced in few time from 80 to 40 km. Bad numbers !

Update 10:35 UTC :  12 minutes later, a M 4.0 aftershock struck the same area.

Update 10:33 UTC :  Initial reports from USGS and EMSC are locating the epicenter in different countries (EMSC in Peru and USGS in Chile). Also the depth is fundamentally different in this initial phase (22 km USGS = dangerous and 40 km EMSC = less dangerous)

The earthquake took place in the border area of Southern Peru and Northern Chile.

Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : 6.2 preliminary - 5.9 USGS  EMSC 6.4 - USGS 6.2
UTC Time :   Monday, May 14, 2012 at 10:00:30 UTC
Local time at epicenter : Monday, May 14, 2012 at 06:00:30 AM at epicenter
Depth (Hypocenter) : 22 to 80 km ?? -- USGS 98 km - EMSC 60 km
Geo-location(s) :
66 km (41 miles) ENE (62°) from Tacna, Peru
110 km (68 miles) NE (38°) from Arica, 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
Scientific parameters
Human impact map

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Refresh this list
SRC Location UTC Date/time M D INFO
IGP Southern Peru / Northern Chile May 14 10:00 5.9 105 MAP
  • Arequipa - Experienced wobbling for about 4 to 5 seconds
  • Arequipa - Very weak shaking reported
  • EMSC Tarapaca, Chile May 14 10:00 6.2 104 MAP
    USGS Tarapaca, Chile May 14 10:00 6.2 98 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.
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