Satellite Images of Chile Earthquake

Article written: 1 Mar , 2010
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015
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Haze lingered over the metropolitan area of Santiago, Chile, following a magnitude 8.8 earth quake on February 27, 2010. In an image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite at 14:25 UTC, black smoke hung over the northern part of the city, while light-colored haze (perhaps pollution and/or dust) covered the southern part of the city and filled a canyon that cuts eastward into the mountains. Below, in an image acquired on February 23, shows the city and surroundings under clear-sky conditions.


The region around Santiago, Chile on Feb. 23, 2010, before the quake. Credit: NASA

Below, a map of topography and water depth of the west coast of South America, which is a subduction zone, where the Nazca Plate is plowing under the South America Plate at an average rate of 80 millimeters (3 inches) per year. Their collision gives rise to the spectacular Andes Mountains as well as to devastating earthquakes. Lighter colors indicate higher elevation on land and shallower depth in the water. Quake locations and magnitudes are indicated by black circles. The topography is based on radar data collected during the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, which flew onboard Space Shuttle Endeavour in mid-February 2002.

A map showing topography, water depth and earthquake magnitudes. Credit: NASA

See our earlier article of the images taken by ISS astronauts of the region shortly after the earthquake.

Sources: NASA Earth Observatory


2 Responses

  1. Jon Hanford says

    Chile gets it’s share of mag 8+ quakes.

  2. Member
    Aqua says

    On January 13th, right after the Haiti earthquake, I wrote:

    “That makes one lunar eclipse and one solar eclipse in this lunar cycle – not in itself unusual. But watch for ground motion at the anti pole? http://earthquake.usgs.gov/ That would be the Pacific rim or the west coast(s) of America. (I hope I’m wrong!)”

    Instead… the next one was 1 1/2 lunar cycles.

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