At least nine people including an American tourist have died following an Earthquake in Arequipa Province in southern Peru on Saturday 14 August 2016. The United States Geological Survey recorded the quake as having a Magnitude of 5.4 and occuring at a depth of 10 km, slightly before 10.00 pm local time (slightly after 3.00 am GMT on Sunday 15 August 2016.The fatalities occured in the Colca Canyon area to the northwest of Arequipa, where about 380 buildings are reported to have collapsed, with over 1000 more being considered uninhabitable due to damage.
Peru is on the west coast of South America and the western margin of the South American Plate, close to where the Nazca Plate, which underlies part of the east Pacific, is being subducted along the Peru-Chile Trench. The Nazca Plate passes under the South American Plate as it sinks into the Earth, this is not a smooth process and the plates repeatedly stick together then break apart as the pressure builds up, causing Earthquakes. As the Nazca Plate sinks further it is partially melted by the friction and the heat of the Earth's interior. Some of this melted material then rises through the overlying South American Plate, fuelling the volcanoes of Peru and neighbouring countries.
The subduction of the Nazca Plate beneath the South American Plate, and how it causes Earthquakes and volcanoes. Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center.
Witness accounts of Earthquakes can help geologists to understand these events, and the structures that cause them. The international non-profit organization Earthquake Report is interested in hearing from people who may have felt this event; if you felt this quake then you can report it to Earthquake Report here.
The approximate location of the 14 August 2016 Arequipa Earthquake. Google.
Magnitude 5.1 Earthquake off the Peruvian Coast. The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 5.1 Earthquake at a depth of 10 km, off the coast of Ica Province in southern Peru, slightly after 2.00 pm local time (slightly after 7.00 pm GMT)..
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