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Chile's earthquake 500 times more powerful than Haiti's

Church The magnitude 8.8 earthquake that jolted Chile early Saturday packed roughly 500 times the wallop of the seismic disaster that struck Haiti on Jan. 12. But the damage and deaths in Chile, still being tallied, will probably be much less devastating.

The Haitian quake was shallow and centered just miles from a densely populated urban hub: Port-au-Prince, the capital. The Chilean quake was much deeper and centered offshore, and Chile's Pacific coast near the epicenter is sparsely populated in comparison.

Chile is relatively well prepared for earthquakes. An area of intense seismic activity, the mountainous South American country has experienced numerous deadly jolts, including a 9.5 quake in 1960, the biggest ever recorded. Children grow up doing earthquake drills in school. Laws require construction that can withstand temblors, and an immediate-response network of rescuers and emergency personnel was able to quickly spring into action.

Continue reading Chile's quake 500 times more powerful than Haiti's by Tracy Wilkinson.

Photo: Cyclers pass by the San Francisco church in Curico, south of Santiago. The church was destroyed in this morning's magnitude 8.8 earthquake. Credit: Martin Bernetti /AFP/Getty Images.
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