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Chile Earthquake of 1960...

Item # 221083

May 22, 1960

THE DETROIT NEWS, Michigan, May 22, 1960.
* The Great Chilean Earthquake Begins

This 60+ page newspaper has one column headlines on the front page: "Big Port Ravaged by Quake" "Fire and Panic Hit Concepcion; Death Toll 143". This is a early report on the great Chilean earthquake. Other news of the day throughout. Binding holes along the spine, otherwise in good condition.

Background Information: The Great Chilean Earthquake was preceded by a smaller earthquake in Arauco Province at 06:02 on 21 May 1960. Telecommunications to southern Chile were cut off and President Jorge Alessandri had to cancel the traditional ceremony of the Battle of Iquique memorial holiday to oversee the emergency assistance efforts. The government was just beginning to organize help to the affected region when the second earthquake occurred at 14:55 UTC on 22 May in Valdivia.

The second earthquake affected all of Chile between Talca and Chilo Island, more than 400,000 square kilometers. Coastal villages, such as Toltn, disappeared. At Corral, the main port of Valdivia, the water level rose 4 meters before it began to recede. At 16:20 UTC, an eight-meter wave struck the Chilean coast, mainly between Concepcin and Chiloe. Ten minutes later, another wave measuring 10 meters was reported.

Hundreds of people were already reported dead by the time the tsunami struck. Ships, like the Canelo, that were at the mouth of Valdivia River sank after being moved 1.5 km backward and forward in the river. The mast of the Canelo is still visible from the road to Niebla.

A number of Spanish-colonial forts around Valdivia were completely destroyed. Soil subsidence also destroyed buildings, deepened local rivers, and created wetlands in places like the Ro Cruces and Chorocomayo, a new aquatic park north of the city. Extensive areas of the city were flooded. The electricity and water systems of Valdivia were totally destroyed. Witnesses reported underground water flowing up through the soil. Despite the heavy rains of 21 May, the city was without a water supply. The river turned brown with sediment from landslides and was full of floating debris including entire houses. The lack of potable water became a serious problem in Chile's most rainy region.

Two days after the earthquake, the Cordn Caulle erupted. It is possible that other volcanoes also erupted, but none were recorded due to the lack of communication in Chile at that time. The relatively low death toll in Chile (estimated at 6,000) is explained, in part, by the fact that many people were attending church at the time of the temblor. Churches were usually constructed on stronger foundations than most residential buildings. Coastal towns also tended to be located on higher ground, following a pre-Hispanic tradition. source: wikipedia

Category: The 20th Century