[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/05/t1.haiti.earthquake.rubble.jpg caption="A devestating magnitude 7.0 quake struck Haiti on January 12." width=300 height=169]
On January 12, a magnitude 7.0 quake struck Haiti just southwest of the capital, Port-au-Prince. On February 27, an 8.8-magnitude quake hit Chile near that nation's second largest city, Concepcion. That same day there was a 7.0 quake off the coast of Okinawa, Japan, and just this week a 6.4 magnitude quake hit southern Taiwan. The Fact Check Desk looked at whether all of the seismic activity could be related.
Fact Check: Is there any connection between the recent deadly earthquakes?
–Dr. Kurt Frankel of the Georgia Institute of Technology, who specializes in active tectonics, says that earthquakes are sporadic and unpredictable in nature.
- According to Frankel, the fact that these relatively strong quakes would strike around the same time is merely coincidence. Because the quakes did happen one after another, earthquakes are on people's mind, Frankel explained. "Had the quakes in Haiti and Chile not occurred recently, we might not have even been interested in the other quakes," he said.
Special to CNN
Images of destroyed homes, people sleeping in the streets and broken freeways reveal the recent tragedy of Chile. Who would think that after the horror of Port-au-Prince, restless geological plates would so quickly wreak havoc in another nation? The Earth seems at war with itself.
But, as many have observed, Chile is not Haiti. Chile's economy is one of the fastest-growing in Latin America. This earthquake will do little to slow down that down. In Santiago, dominated by industries, corporate offices and financial institutions, most people will return to work within a week.
But there is another side of Chile for which the picture cannot be as optimistic: the depressed areas that have never enjoyed the nation's economic boom. These are "callampas," or impoverished wards of major cities and small towns that have been bypassed by progress. Unfortunately, the earthquake has hit these areas the hardest. The question is now, how will the government address these people's need for housing and employment?
In stark contrast to the coast, inland from the quake's epicenter are some of the finest vineyards in the country. They were spared by the tsunami that destroyed some coastal towns, and although they sustained some damage from the quake, their grapes will soon be on our tables to join the avocados and berries that Chile shares with the Northern Hemisphere.
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Special to AC360°
On Tuesday I woke up to the sound of the television in the living room. A sharp contrast to how I’ve woken for the past three mornings: to temblores that shake me awake.
A friend, camped out on my couch, had been watching a movie with the volume way too loud for 7:20 in the morning. Originally my couch surfing friend was supposed to catch a flight to Buenos Aires, Argentina Saturday afternoon. But because the Santiago airport is now open only to national and incoming international flights, Mr. Surfer is trapped for the foreseeable future.
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It was an uncharacteristically cold and gray day in Santiago; very strange because the past four months have been sunny and warm with almost no sign of rain. It is my girlfriend’s birthday at the end of the week so I thought I would make my way down to the antique mall to see if I could find her a gift. Secretly my hope was that there would be something I could pick up that was slightly damaged from the quake and, therefore, a bit cheaper.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/TECH/03/02/earthquake.resistant.building/story.chile.building.afp.jpg caption="Many buildings in Chile withstood a stronger earthquake than one in Haiti, which toppled concrete structures." width=300 height=169]
John D. Sutter
It's a sobering fact: Earthquakes alone don't kill people; collapsed buildings do.
But can people engineer buildings that wouldn't crumble when subjected to the rumblings of the Earth?
In the wake of the Haiti and Chile earthquakes, such a question has more importance now than any time in recent memory.
The simple answer is yes. The technology exists to make buildings nearly earthquake-proof today. However, installing those safer buildings all over the world isn't so simple. Neither is figuring out who will pay.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/WORLD/americas/03/01/chile.earthquake.obrien/story.chile.looters.one.cnn.jpg caption="A soldier guards a looted mall on a main street in Concepcion, Chile, on Monday." width=300 height=169]
Soledad O'Brien and Rose Arce
The drive into Concepcion couldn't have been more dramatic. We turned the corner through a dense morning fog onto a main street and a small crowd moved into the streets against traffic. It's just two days after an 8.8-magnitude earthquake toppled walls and collapsed buildings, but people are looting.
Young men ducked beneath gates and smashed windows, yanking out boxes holding appliances and grabbing cell phones and clothes. Grown women slid between window bars and ran down streets with bags full of booty.
A large green military truck with a hose bore down on the crowd using pressurized water to deter the crowd, but soldiers patrolling with big guns did nothing to stop looters on the streets. The looting was so out of control at La Flor clothing store that a fire broke out, and clouds of black smoke filled the sky. The firefighters couldn't even fight the fire because they were too busy with the search and rescue operation.
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Special to CNN
The earthquake of 2010 is not the first one of this magnitude in Chile's long, traumatic history.
Almost 50 ago, I was watching a soccer match in the National Stadium in Chile's capital when, seconds after a gigantic rumble from under the ground terrified the 60,000 fans attending the game, the mountains suddenly disappeared. I am not exaggerating: The stadium was rocked like a cradle and rose in the air, blotting out my view of the Andes, and then, fortunately for all of us, settled back to stability. We had just been through what is still considered, at 9.6 on the Richter scale, the greatest seismic activity ever recorded.
We soon learned that the epicenter had been more than 400 miles south of Santiago and that the devastation was massive. On top of the quake itself, which had flattened towns and killed thousands, a tsunami had swept our coast, causing even more havoc. A few months later, when I traveled to that region, I saw for myself the masts of large sunken ships in the Valdivia River many miles inland, and the remains of colossal iron-smelting ovens in Corral that had been twisted beyond recognition by the rush of the invading waters.