There Have Been 57 Earthquakes of Magnitude 4.5 or Higher in Chile This Week

No one in the contiguous United States has ever felt shaking like what's going on in Chile right now.
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Quakes in Chile in the last seven days. (USGS)

Another massive earthquake hit Chile this evening, a 7.6 aftershock to Monday's 8.2 magnitude earthquake. 

For perspective: If it had hit the lower 48 instead of Chile, the 8.2 quake would have been the largest quake to hit the continental United States since 1700. No stronger quake has been felt here since the 1906 quake that leveled San Francisco. The smaller aftershock would have been the sixth strongest quake to hit the lower 48 in recorded history, stronger than any in the 20th century, except the great SF quake.

But it's not just the big tremors that must be disturbing residents of Chile, but all the little ones, too. 

53 earthquakes of 4.5 or higher have hit the country in the last week, most of them centered near the port city of Iquique, which has a population of about 180,000. 

For comparison, in the last 30 days, only 13 4.5+ earthquakes have hit the contiguous United States, none bigger than the 5.1 magnitude quake that hit near LA last week.

There have been 21 quakes more powerful than the Los Angeles temblor in the last week near Iquique. The epicenter of the 7.6 quake that just struck also was just 11 miles from the city, much closer than the 8.2 quake that did so much damage yesterday. It's highlighted in blue in the map above. 

Update: More earthquakes keep hitting all the time. In between when I started this post and when it went up, several more 4.5+ quakes struck the region. I updated the headline multiple times, but I'm going to stay at 57. Here's my list.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com, where he also oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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