The magnitude 8. 8 earthquake that occurred a month ago in Chile, as well as the impending tsunami along the Pacific Rim is the product of a fortuitous event. These are events which cannot be foreseen or which though foreseen are inevitable. The quake struck at 3:34 a. m. in central Chile. The capital Santiago is about 200 miles from the epicenter and Concepcion, Chile’s second-largest metropolitan area, is roughly 70 miles from the quake’s center.
A magnitude of 8. 0 or greater is classified as a great earthquake which results to communities being destroyed. The 8. 8 magnitude earthquake in Chile has killed lesser people compared to the 7. 0 magnitude that struck Haiti on January 12 that killed more than 200,000 people. It was 32 times the energy higher and 64 times greater than what took place in Haiti. The difference in the death toll lies in the buildings’ structures and their construction.
Unless a building is designed and engineered specifically to withstand an 8. 0 or greater earthquake it’s going to sustain considerable damage. Even buildings that are well built sustain significant damage. Buildings that are poorly built are completely destroyed. Chile, being a more industrialized nation came up with more stringent building codes. By designing a more flexible structure, we can lessen the effect of the disaster. It makes the buildings slide or sway but not crumble to the ground.
Engineers who work on earthquake resistant buildings said that current technologies prevent well-designed buildings from cracking when the ground shakes beneath them Natural disasters such as floods, tsunami and earthquakes do occur. There is nothing we can do to prevent it. However, there is something we can do to lessen its impact. Earthquakes alone don’t actually kill people; it is the collapsed structures that do the damage. Disaster preparedness as well as earthquake-proof buildings are the keys to lessen the impact of such disaster.