A Valdivia street after the earthquake of 22 May 1960

A Valdivia street after the earthquake of 22 May 1960

A Valdivia street after the earthquake of 22 May 1960. Image: wikipedia

Also known as the Great Chilean earthquake (Gran terremoto de Chile), it was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded. The earthquake hit on May 22 in the afternoon (19:11 GMT, 15:11 local time), approximately 100 miles (160 km) off the coast of Chile, parallel to the city of Valdivia. It lasted approximately 10 minutes and triggered a massive tsunami with waves up to 25 meters (82 feet). The main tsunami severely battered the Chilean coast, and raced across the Pacific Ocean and devastated Hilo, Hawaii. Waves as high as 10.7 meters (35 feet) were recorded even 10,000 kilometers (6,200 mi) from the epicenter, and as far away as Japan and the Philippines.

The death toll of 1960 Valdivia Earthquake is not certain – the total number of fatalities from the earthquake and tsunamis have been estimated between 1,000 and 6,000. About 3,000 people were injured.

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