September 16, 2015 a Magnitude (M) 8.3 earthquake occurred 46km west of Illapel, Chile. Multiple high level events continue to occur in the vicinity. Illapel, Chile is located in the Coquimbo region of Chile, almost 250km north of Valparaiso.
Chile has a long history of massive earthquakes, including the 2010 M 8.8 Maule earthquake in central Chile. This zone also hosted the largest earthquake on record, the 1960 M 9.5 earthquake in southern Chile. Over the century prior to the September 16, 2015 earthquake, the region within 400 km of this event has hosted 15 other M 7+ earthquakes.
Chile is slightly smaller than twice the size of Montana. Chile also has a fertile central valley between the coast and the rugged Andes Mountains in the east. Its climate is mostly temperate. The Atacama Desert lies in the north; it experiences cool and damp weather in the south. The natural resources of Chile include: copper, timber, iron ore, nitrates, precious metals, molybdenum, and hydropower.
Prior to the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, the Mapuche inhabited central and southern Chile, where this earthquake occurred. It was not until the 1880s that the Mapuche were brought under central government control. Although Chile declared its independence in 1810, decisive victory over the Spanish was not achieved until 1818. In the War of the Pacific (1879-83), Chile defeated Peru and Bolivia and won its present northern regions.
Sound economic policies, maintained consistently since the 1980s, contributed to steady growth, and reduced poverty rates by over half. Chile has increasingly assumed regional and international leadership roles befitting its status as a stable, democratic nation. In January 2014, Chile assumed a two-year nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council.
CIA World Factbook; U.S. Geological Survey, 9/2015; 9/2015
This map has also been used:
- Villaricca, Chile, March 2015