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Chilean Megaquake Impact on TIGO Concepción

Last updated: 24-Mar-2010 (TIGO observes again in IVS sessions)

Magnitude 8.8 earthquake. On February 27, 2010 at 06:34:14 UTC (03:34:14 local time) a major earthquake of magnitude 8.8 shook the earth in Chile. The epicenter was located in a depth of about 35 km at 35.846°S and 72.719°W. This location is about 115 km NNE of the city of Concepción, which is the host city of the fundamental station TIGO. More information on the megaquake can be found, for instance, on the Web site of the U.S. Geological Survey under Significant Earthquakes.

Devastation. The Chile Earthquake and its aftermath is covered intensively in the media. The reports show the devastation that was caused by the tremor itself as well as its aftereffects (tsunami, fires). The destruction of infrastructure and shortage of food and other essentials create dire situations that led to dusk-to-dawn curfews. It will take a while until the situation will become manageable. Find more information about the human aspect of the quake in general in the CNN Chile Earthquake special.

Information on TIGO staff. As Internet and phone services normalize in Concepción, we get more information on the well-being of the TIGO staff and their families. We are happy to learn that no one of the staff suffered injuries in the earthquake or thereafter. All seem to be well and eager to bring the fundamental station back to full operations. Everyone is putting in extra hours (to the extent the curfew allows) to make this happen.

Situation at TIGO station. The German Technical Relief Organization (Technisches Hilfswerk, THW) had set up base camp at TIGO for some time but now has left Chile again. TIGO was able to provide a safe site and necessary infrastructure for the THW. The technical instrumentation at the fundamental station got away almost unscathed. The VLBI telecscope is back in operations since March 15 and participated in the rapid-turnaround sessions on March 15/16 (R1422), March 18/19 (R4422), and March 22/23 (R1423). The Bonn correlator has received the module with TIGO's R1422 data and is commencing correlation. An initial check showed fringes. In addition to the regular observing, three-hour special TIGO quake (TQAK01-TQAK05) sessions are run on a smaller network consisting of TIGO, Hobart (both 26-m and 12-m antennas), Kokee Park, and Westford filling part of the gaps between the rapid-turnaround sessions. This will hopefully allow to measure some of the postseismic movements. The IGS GPS-station CONT recorded 1-Hz data without interruption which was already analyzed at several IGS Analysis Centers. Also the superconducting gravity meter and seismometer observed continuously using solar batteries and power generators. The Universidad de Concepción is to be thanked for making this possible by providing diesel fuel before the tanks at TIGO were depleted. The SLR telescope, which was knocked out of the foundation and was displaced by about 15 cm, is being realigned and hopefully back in service by the end of the week (March 26).

Universidad de Concepción. The campus of the Universidad de Concepción, however, seems to be hard hit and is severely damaged through the quake and a subsequent fire. It has to be feared that the campus that many fondly remember as the venue of the 4th IVS General Meeting will have to be rebuilt (at least in parts).

Eyewitness report. Hayo Hase gave a first eyewitness report on the situation at TIGO and in Concepción in general. Read his account from March 6.

(If you have an update to the information given in this page, please send a note to Dirk Behrend.)