Tuesday, March 2, 2010


This is jaw-dropping: a resident of Chile with relatives in Vancouver (Washington, I presume, since KATU refers to them as "a local connection.") caught the road fissuring during the earthquake there.

Now I can't be certain, but I seriously doubt this represents "the fault" opening up. The epicenter was offshore, so if this is a fault, it was a different one activated by the passage of the seismic waves. An actual fault rupture would also travel much faster than we see in the clip- at the speed of sound in rock, which is several times faster than the speed of sound in air. I'd put my money on this being a slump of the road's foundation, perhaps liquifaction of the underlying soil/sediment/saprolith. Whatever is happening here, it's amazing. I'm glad everyone's okay.

(Video here, story here, via KATU)

1 comment:

Cannibal Panda said...

Wow! That would be pretty scary to drive up on! Great post Lockwood!

I heard on the news this morning that a Seattle businessman (from Chile) was home visiting when the EQ hit and now today had to go to the morgue in order to identify his mother and grandmother. I was incredibly saddened for him- as I am for everyone who lost loved ones there.