Facts about Chile

2010-02-27 09:12

A magnitude-8.3 earthquake struck south-central Chile early on

Saturday, triggering a tsunami warning for Chile and Peru.

Here are some facts about Chile:


  • In 1960, Chile was hit by the world’s biggest earthquake in

    records dating back to 1900, US Geological Survey data shows. The 9.5-magnitude

    quake devastated the south-central coastal city of Valdivia, killing 1 655

    people and sending a tsunami that battered Easter Island, 3 700 km off Chile’s

    Pacific seaboard, and continued as far as Hawaii, Japan and the

    Philippines.

  • Chile’s chain of about 2 000 volcanoes is the world’s

    second-largest after Indonesia, and is part of the Pacific “Ring of Fire” of

    seismic activity. Some 50 to 60 are on record as having erupted, and 500 are

    potentially active. The Chaiten volcano, 1 200 km south of Santiago in the

    Patagonia region, erupted in May 2008 for the first time in thousands of years,

    spewing a plume of ash visible from space.

  • Chile is one of the longest countries in the world,

    stretching around 4 300 km from its northern desert border with Peru and Bolivia

    to South America’s southern tip by Cape Horn, once a major world trade

    route.

  • Chile is the world’s biggest producer of copper, its main

    export. It produces about 34 percent of world output of the metal, which is used

    in electronics, cars and refrigerators. Most of the mines are in the

    north.

  • Dictator Augusto Pinochet ruled Chile with an iron fist for

    17 years from a 1973 coup until 1990. Pinochet died in 2006 without facing full

    trial on rights abuses during his rule, when more than 3 000 people were killed

    or disappeared and an estimated 28 000 people were tortured.

 

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