The honor of greatest earthquake of all time goes to the 1960 Chile earthquake because scientists were able to ‘catch this one on tape’. In other words, there have been a lot of really big earthquakes throughout human history (and even greater ones before we came on the scene), but this one they were able to measure, record and verify its ground motion strength. The instruments that seismologists use to measure earthquake magnitudes are designed to detect the amount of energy released by the movement of the ground during a quake. In the case of the Chile earthquake, the amount of energy released during the quake, not the number of human deaths and damage to structures earned it the title of greatest. This earthquake was the largest ever instrumentally recorded. It measured a 9.5 on the Moment Magnitude (Mw) scale, but registered only an 8.8 on the Ms Scale.
The world is yet to recover from the devastation of the Haiti earthquake and the poverty the country is going through, most of the surgeons are gradually leaving the ailing citizens while they are gradually running out of aids, but the worst is yet to be heard, as flood and torrential rains has continued to fall in Haiti rendering them homeless even in the middle of their homelessness. The hunger and starvation in Haiti is unthinkable as family struggle for food. Looters and political instability troubles the country as thieves are taking advantage of the lapses to commit crime not to mention the suspected kidnap by 10 Americans who have been released. On Saturday, the world experienced another blow as Chile was ravaged by an 8.8 magnitude earthquake.
This is the biggest recorded earthquake ever in modern time and has left a death toll of over 700 people and counting, the after effect of the earthquake amongst others are Tsunami, storms and landslide. Giant waves engulfed seaside towns and villages, drowning residents, washing away homes and leaving survivors to stare in disbelief at the seaweed clinging to what was left of their livelihoods. “The wave covered everything — it was something like 6m high,” Carlos Palma said as he tried to salvage belongings in the seaside town of Penco. Data from US experts at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre put the biggest wave at 2.6m, and the devastation in coastal areas was clear.
The wave came without warning for many, sweeping people out to sea and reducing all but the strongest structures into flotsam and jetsam. The Chilean government declared a curfew in two of the worst-hit areas, the central Maule region and the nation’s second city of Concepcion and its province, where security fears rose as police fired teargas and water cannons to disperse gangs of looters. In a bid to head off looting and provide faster relief, authorities settled on a system that allowed staples to be taken but not televisions and other electronic goods.
The government then reached a deal with supermarket chains to give away food to needy residents. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet sent 10,000 troops to restore order and help rescue efforts in hard-hit southern towns. Ms Bachelet said two million people were displaced, and predicted the death toll would rise. “We’re facing an unthinkable catastrophe that will require an enormous effort in resources,” she said in a national TV address.
The mayor of the worst-hit city of Concepcion pleaded for help as rescuers with heat detectors hunted for dozens of people believed to be trapped in a 15-storey block of flats toppled by the 8.8-magnitude quake. There was a wave of looting in Concepcion as hundreds of people ransacked shops of everything from food and nappies to clothing and appliances.
Concepcion Mayor Jacqueline Van Rysselberghe made a plea for help on local television. Ms Bachelet put the military in control of the two worst-hit southern regions of Maule and Bdobdo, where Concepcion is the capital. Broadcasts showed police cracking down with teargas and arrests, and at least one armoured vehicle blasting looters with water cannon. Troops arrived, and by nightfall Concepcion was under curfew. I ask what is going on with the world. What do we do now that things are not looking up?