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

By Alexis C. Madrigal

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.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/04/there-have-been-57-earthquakes-of-magnitude-45-or-higher-in-chile-em-this-week-em/360075/