Quakes in Chile, Haiti unrelated: Mexican expert

15:28, March 01, 2010      

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The 8.8-magnitude earthquake in Chile early Saturday was unrelated with the 7.3-magnitude quake in Haiti in mid-January, said a Mexican expert in an interview with Xinhua.

Carlos Valdez, dean of the geological physics faculty of the Mexico National Autonomous University, said the stronger one in Chile, however, may have caused much less damage.

He said the succession of the two strong earthquakes in the western hemisphere was "a sheer coincidence."

The Haiti earthquake was caused by a collision between the Caribbean Plate and the North American Plate, while the quake in Chile, which stands on the circum pacific volcanic belt, was caused by a collision between the Pacific-Nazca Plate and the South American Plate, Valdez said.

The difference between the two quakes was that the Haiti quake, with its epicenter on land, mainly affected onshore infrastructure, while the Chile quake, with its epicenter beneath the seabed, caused tidal waves that have impacts on countries across the Pacific, Valdez said.

He said the Haiti quake caused huge damage to the Caribbean country because local people were unprepared both materially and psychologically,and the poor quality of many buildings aggravated the loss.


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