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Chilean earthquake moved several cities

Damaged power-lines are seen tangled and destroyed in Santiago, Chile on March 4, 2010, as crews begin to make repairs after an 8.8 magnitude earthquake devastated the country on February 27. UPI/Matias Avila
Damaged power-lines are seen tangled and destroyed in Santiago, Chile on March 4, 2010, as crews begin to make repairs after an 8.8 magnitude earthquake devastated the country on February 27. UPI/Matias Avila | License Photo

COLUMBUS, Ohio, March 9 (UPI) -- U.S.-led scientists say the magnitude 8.8 earthquake that struck western Chile last month moved the entire city of Concepcion at least 10 feet to the west.

Preliminary measurements from data gathered at four universities and several agencies showed the massive earthquake also shifted other parts of South America as far apart as the Falkland Islands and Fortaleza, Brazil.

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Researchers said the earthquake -- the fifth-most-powerful since seismic instruments have been available -- moved Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina and across the continent from the quake's epicenter, about 1 inch to the west. Chile's capital, Santiago, moved about 11 inches to the west-southwest.

The research team deduced the cities' movement by comparing precise global positioning satellite locations known prior to the major quake to those of nearly 10 days later.

Ohio State University Professor Mike Bevis, who has led a project since 1993 that has been measuring crustal motion and deformation in the Central and Southern Andes, said the earthquake "will arguably become one of the, if not the most important great earthquake yet studied."

The researchers -- including scientists from the University of Memphis, the California Institute of Technology, the University of Hawaii and several South American universities and institutes -- prepared a map showing the relative movement of locations after the Chilean earthquake. That map is available at http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/chilequakemap.htm.

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