A recent study has revealed that the world’s biggest earthquake occured in northern Chile 3,800 years ago and caused a huge tsunami that reached New Zealand.
Huge earthquakes, like the one in Kashmir in 2005 or the devastating one in Haiti in 2010, have wreaked havoc on humankind in the past few decades.
According to a recent study by the University of Southampton, an earthquake that took place in Chile around 3,800 years ago makes all the modern-day earthquakes pale in comparison. The earthquake was 9.5 on the rector scale and possibly caused a tsunami that travelled all the way to New Zealand which is almost 5,000 miles away.
Earthquakes are caused by ruptures in the tectonic plates, the longer the rupture, the more severe the earthquake.
The largest known rupture in history, before this discovery, occurred in 1960 in Southern Chile.
Co-author of the study Professor James said that it had been thought that they did not expect an earthquake of such magnitude in the north of the country because the plates in that region were not prone to such big ruptures.
‘But we have now found evidence of a rupture that’s about one thousand kilometres long just off the Atacama Desert coast and that is massive,’ he added.
The Professor explained that they found all these very high up and a long way inland so it could not have been a storm that put them there.
The team said that the excavations of archaeological sites along the coastline, including in Pabellón de Pica, also found stone buildings which had been destroyed by the waves, with many walls toppling towards the seas, likely as a result of strong currents.
Professor Goff said that the local population there were left with nothing.
‘Our archaeological work found that a huge social upheaval followed as communities moved inland beyond the reach of tsunamis.