A powerful earthquake struck Saturday night in the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica, near Chile’s Antarctic base, Eduardo Fray. The Chilean Ministry of the Interior ruled that the week-long quake could trigger a tsunami, so they ordered the evacuation of the base and the neighboring village of Vila Las Estrelas. A few hours later, the tsunami waves were lifted.
The disaster management agency in Chile said the quake occurred only once on Sunday morning CET, and had its epicenter 210 kilometers east of the Chilean base in the sea, at a depth of 10 kilometers.
The base, which was established on King George Island, belongs to the Chilean Air Force and lies 1230 km south of South America. Villa Las Estrellas has a hospital, school, bank, convenience store, post office and chapel. Up to 150 people stay in the area in the summer and around 80 in the winter.
The disaster management reported that 80 people had been temporarily relocated from Eduardo Frei and the village, as well as a total of 81 other Chileans from three other smaller bases (O’Higgins, Fields, and Pratt), and five foreign bases were evacuated but authorities did not say which countries they belonged to and how many people.
About half an hour after the powerful earthquake, another earthquake occurred, independently, at 122 kilometers depth, 122 kilometers deep from Santiago, Chile’s 5.9-strong capital. The disaster management initially ordered a tsunami alert for this reason, but soon after it announced it was wrong. After that, the authorities said that no impact of this earthquake had been observed so far.
Chile is one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world: in 2010, there was an 8.8-magnitude earthquake in Concepcion that killed more than five hundred people, and sixty years ago, Chile suffered the worst earthquake ever, with a magnitude of 9.6, in Valdivia In the south of the country.
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