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Just as we were dealing with some coastal tectonic activity in the United States, a massive 8.2 earthquake rocked Chile on Tuesday evening. The earthquake's epicenter was located somewhere near the city of Iquique in the Northern part of the country. Major highways are damaged, and there are massive blackouts throughout the regions closest to the epicenter. Tsunami warnings were issued as far away as Hawaii and residents were ordered to evacuate the coast as a natural disaster could occur at any time.
According to The Los Angeles Times, the biggest concern is that this earthquake may be precursor to a bigger, more damaging earthquake in Chile. The country sits on the Nazca plate, a highly unstable tectonic plate that has been behaving very badly the past couple years. In 2010, an 8.8 magnitude earthquake ravaged the country and was followed by a tsunami. Chile is also home to the biggest recorded earthquake in history, a 9.5 in 1960. Even though tectonic activity is the norm in the South American country, a big one could seriously devastate the region. Chile is prepared, however, and evacuation and disaster management plans are already in place if there is a bigger quake.
In the wake of Tuesday’s devastating earthquake, 300 prisoners in Iquique reportedly escaped. Finding those people is just one of the many headaches authorities are dealing with right now, but that particular development is gaining a lot of traction on the Internet, specifically because of its similarities to the recent film Aftershock. The thriller set in Chile looks at the fallout after an earthquake decimates the country and creates a hellish environment, leading to attacks from escaped hospital patients throughout the so-called Ring of Fire.
For the last few weeks, Mother Earth has apparently gotten pretty angry and has spent her time letting us know that she's mad. On St. Patrick's Day an earthquake rocked Southern California followed by a 5.1 magnitude quake on March 28th in the Los Angeles area. Yellowstone National Park reported its biggest earthquake in over thirty years on March 30th. Perhaps all of these earthquakes are somehow connected. Even if they aren't, it really makes you take pause when you realize the earth below your feet could shift at any given time, even if you live away from fault lines. We literally are standing on giant puzzle pieces that don't exactly fit and keep slamming into each other.
Come to think of it, this year has already started to feel a little like The Day After Tomorrow. The Midwest is finally thawing out from a ridiculously cold and snowy winter thanks to the Polar Vortex, there are landslides in the Pacific Northwest, and now earthquakes in the mix. In all seriousness, we hope all the residents of Chile stay safe and that there aren't any more damaging earthquakes or tsunamis in the near future. I think the earth needs a big hug.