The Great Chilean Earthquake or Valdivia Earthquake (Terremoto de Valdivia) was the largest magnitude earthquake recorded since seismographic monitoring began. Striking at 14:11 (local time), it measured 9.6 and affected southern Chile.

The epicentre was located off the coast of  VALDIVIA  (c.800 Km south of Santiago). There had been a series of earthquakes up to a Magnitude of 8.0 the previous day c.100 Km north of Valdivia (nearer Temuco)

The photographs are from Puerto Montt which is c.200 Km south of Valdivia.

The main road (Pan American highway)   nominally runs the length of South America. It is the road from  Santiago to Puerto Varas and Puerto Montt.

According to The Encyclopaedia Britanica 5700 people died with 3000 being injured and significant property damage.






Building in Valdivia after the earthquake.


 Severe shaking lasted for several minutes as the fault rupture proceeded both north and south from the focal point. Buildings toppled, soft coastal sediment liquefied, landslides swept down mountain slopes, and cliff fronts collapsed into the ocean. 



The photographs below were obtained by GMA from a colleague in Rancagua.

Photographs are of Puerto Montt

Simple translation:" In this photograph the building of the  Banco Espanol can be clearly seen. Our house (apartment) is situated on the third floor, in the area indicated by the red lines ( black in this photo); our bedroom located just below the cross marked in blue (black in this photo) ink. The building didn't suffer any damage."

Simple translation: "the state of Angelmo street after the earthquake"

What happened in the earthquake was that a piece of the Pacific seafloor, about the size of California, slid fifty feet beneath the continent of South America. Like a spring, the lower slopes of the South American continent offshore snapped upwards as much as twenty feet while land along the Chile coast dropped about ten feet. This change in the shape of the ocean bottom changed the shape of the sea surface. Since the sea surface likes to be flat, the pile of excess water at the surface collapsed to create a series of waves--the tsunami.

 The tsunami, with waves up to 25m (80ft) , caused tremendous damage along the Chile and Peru coasts, where about 2,000 people died. (i.e. 3700 directly from the earthquake & 2000 from the tsunami).

The waves spread outwards across the Pacific. 15 hours later the waves flooded Hilo, on the island of Hawaii, where they built up to thirty feet and caused 61 deaths along the waterfront. Seven hours after that (22 hours after the earthquake) the waves flooded the coastline of Japan where ten-foot waves caused 200 deaths. The waves also caused damage in the Marquesas, in Samoa, and in New Zealand. Tide gauges throughout the Pacific measured anomalous oscillations for about three days as the waves bounced from one side of the ocean to the other.

Simple translation: ""vehicle earthquaked(?)" This truck was surprised by  the earthquake, going   northwards on the Pan American highway between Puerto Montt and Puerto Varas"

Despite the level of the earthquake, more people were killed by the Tsunami than by the earthquake itself.

After-shocks produced dozens of earthquakes of magnitude 5 or greater, lasting  for several years

Simple translation:"This is the Pan American highway between Puerto Montt and Puerto Varas. Here a car, which was passing at the time of the quake, is buried"