South America

5.2-magnitude quake hits 146 km E of Iquique, Chile

An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.2 jolted 146 km E of Iquique, Chile at 0505 GMT on Friday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

Why so many earthquakes in Chile?

Chile is located on a tectonic plate boundary and a subduction zone called the Peru-Chile trench. A subduction zone is where the ocean crust slides under the continental margin which causes compressional deformation (mountain building), earthquakes and volcanoes.

Chile has experienced all of these phenomena-the Andes mountains and a long history of earthquakes and volcanoes. Earthquakes occur at any fault line, but the most destructive earthquakes happen at subduction zones.

In fact, the largest earthquake of this century was in Valdivia Chile, on May 21st 1960.

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Desiderio Fernández is our correspondent from Buenos Aires, Argentina. His core expertise lies in investigative journalism with previous assignments in Mexico and Cuba. He has 26 years of experience in this field.

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