SAN DIEGO, March 23 (UPI) -- A U.S. oceanographic expedition has been sent to the Chilean earthquake site to map the rupture that caused one of the largest quakes in history.
Scientists funded by the National Science Foundation and affiliated with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego said the eight-day expedition is designed to study changes in the seafloor that resulted from movements along faults and submarine landslides caused by the 8.8-magnitude incident.
The expedition is taking place aboard the research vessel Melville, which was conducting research off Chile when the earthquake struck.
"This rapid response cruise is a rare opportunity to better understand the processes that affect the generation and size of tsunamis," said Julie Morris, NSF division director for Ocean Sciences. "Seafloor evidence of the quake will contribute to understanding similar earthquake regions worldwide."
Scientists said they will also deploy depth sensors on the seafloor to record possible abrupt vertical motions over the next year.