Written by on . Last updated February 21st, 2024.

In the South Pacific Ocean 53 kilometer from Cañete, Chile, a shallow and significant Magnitude 5.8 earthquake occurred just after midnight of Sunday December 24th, 2023. Shaking may have been felt by a total of 3.4 million people. Another nearby country is Argentina.

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Earthquake Summary

This earthquake hit under water in the South Pacific Ocean, 45 kilometers (28 mi) off the coast of Chile, 53 kilometer southwest of Cañete in Biobío. The center of this earthquake had a very shallow depth of 11 km. Shallow earthquakes usually have a larger impact than earthquakes deep in the earth.

Date and Time: Dec 24, 2023 00:23 (Santiago Time)
- Dec 24, 2023 03:23 Universal Time.
Location: 53 km SW of Cañete, Biobío, Chile.
Coordinates 38°4'36"S 73°53'38"W.
Map: Map of area around epicenter.
Map of area around epicenter. Click to open in Google Maps.
Magnitude: MAG 5.8
Detected by 51 stations. Maximum Error Range ±0.043 .
Depth: 11 km (7 mi)
A very shallow depth.
Max. Intensity:
VI
Strong

On the Modified Mercalli Scale.
Tsunami Risk: Low tsunami risk
Earthquakes under MAG-6.5 do not usually cause tsunami's.
Always stay cautious - More info here.

Minimal impact predicted

Based on scientific estimates by the US Geographic Survey (USGS), the risk of high fatalities for this earthquake is classified at level GREEN (low). They expect an 65% likelyhood of between 0 and 1 fatalities, and a 96% chance that the number of fatalities falls no higher than 10.

The USGS classifies the economic impact of this earthquake at level GREEN (low). They expect an 65% likelyhood of between 0 and 1 million US Dollars in economic damage and impact, and a 96% chance that the economic impact of this earthquake falls no higher than 10 million USD.

Roughly 3.4 million people exposed to shaking

This earthquake may have been felt by around 3.4 million people. That is the expected population size of the area exposed to a level of shaking of II or higher on the Modified Mercalli scale according to the USGS.

Moderate shaking and very light damage may have been experienced by an estimated 4,110 people. At V, it is the highest MMI level this earthquake has caused. Intensity level III was experienced by the majority of people (around 3 million). In their region, weak shaking and probably no damage can be expected.

People in 2 countries have been exposed to shaking. Roughly 3.4 million people were exposed to shaking in Chile , with level V (moderate shaking, very light damage) as the highest recorded. People were exposed to shaking in Argentina as well.

People MMI Level Shaking Damage
0
I
Not noticable None
6,340
II
Very weak None
3,009,000
III
Weak Probably none
342,000
IV
Light Likely none
4,110
V
Moderate Very light
0
VI
Strong Light
0
VII
Very Strong Moderate
0
VIII
Severe Moderate to heavy
0
IX
Violent Heavy
0
X
Extreme Very heavy

Nearby towns and cities

Chile and Argentina are both located within 300km distance of the epicenter of the earthquake.

The closest significant population center near the earthquake is Cañete in Biobío, Chile. Cañete is located 53 kilometer (33 mi) southwest of the epicenter. The intensity of shaking and damage in Cañete is estimated to be around level IV on the Modified Mercalli Intensity scale (light shaking, likely no damage).

Multiple major population centers exist within 300km of the earthquake that struck today. Temuco is located 135 km to the east-southeast and experienced an intensity of III (weak shaking, probably no damage). Talcahuano is located 165 km to the north-northeast and experienced an intensity of III (weak shaking, probably no damage). Concepción is located 158 km to the north-northeast and experienced an intensity of III (weak shaking, probably no damage).

The table below provides an overview of all places in proximity of today's earthquake. Where available, the estimated intensity on the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale in each place is included. Places where this information is omitted likely experienced little impact.

Overview of nearby places

Distance Place Intensity (MMI)
53 km (33 mi)
NE from epicenter
Cañete

Biobío, Chile.
IV
Light
56 km (35 mi)
NNE from epicenter
Lebu

Biobío, Chile.
IV
Light
82 km (51 mi)
NE from epicenter
Curanilahue

Biobío, Chile.
IV
Light
105 km (65 mi)
NNE from epicenter
Arauco

Biobío, Chile.
IV
Light
108 km (67 mi)
ENE from epicenter
Angol

Araucanía, Chile.
IV
Light
111 km (69 mi)
SE from epicenter
Nueva Imperial

Araucanía, Chile.
IV
Light
125 km (78 mi)
ENE from epicenter
Nacimiento

Biobío, Chile.
III
Weak
127 km (79 mi)
NNE from epicenter
Lota

Biobío, Chile.
III
Weak
129 km (80 mi)
E from epicenter
Collipulli

Araucanía, Chile.
III
Weak
134 km (83 mi)
NNE from epicenter
Coronel

Biobío, Chile.
III
Weak
135 km (84 mi)
ESE from epicenter
Temuco

Araucanía, Chile.
III
Weak
136 km (85 mi)
NE from epicenter
Laja

Biobío, Chile.
III
Weak
137 km (85 mi)
ESE from epicenter
Lautaro

Araucanía, Chile.
III
Weak
138 km (86 mi)
E from epicenter
Victoria

Araucanía, Chile.
III
Weak
149 km (93 mi)
NNE from epicenter
Chiguayante

Biobío, Chile.
III
Weak
150 km (93 mi)
ENE from epicenter
Mulchén

Biobío, Chile.
III
Weak
151 km (94 mi)
ENE from epicenter
Los Ángeles

Biobío, Chile.
III
Weak
158 km (98 mi)
NNE from epicenter
Concepción

Biobío, Chile.
III
Weak
165 km (103 mi)
NNE from epicenter
Talcahuano

Biobío, Chile.
III
Weak
168 km (104 mi)
NNE from epicenter
Penco

Biobío, Chile.
III
Weak
175 km (109 mi)
NE from epicenter
Cabrero

Biobío, Chile.
III
Weak
181 km (112 mi)
SE from epicenter
Loncoche

Araucanía, Chile.
III
Weak
182 km (113 mi)
NNE from epicenter
Tomé

Biobío, Chile.
III
Weak
197 km (122 mi)
SE from epicenter
Villarrica

Araucanía, Chile.
III
Weak
201 km (125 mi)
SSE from epicenter
Valdivia

Los Ríos Region, Chile.
III
Weak
201 km (125 mi)
SSE from epicenter
Las Animas

Los Ríos Region, Chile.
III
Weak
215 km (134 mi)
SE from epicenter
Pucón

Araucanía, Chile.
III
Weak
221 km (137 mi)
SE from epicenter
Panguipulli

Los Ríos Region, Chile.
III
Weak
228 km (142 mi)
NE from epicenter
Chillán

Ñuble, Chile.
III
Weak
251 km (156 mi)
NE from epicenter
San Carlos

Ñuble, Chile.
III
Weak
256 km (159 mi)
SSE from epicenter
La Unión

Los Ríos Region, Chile.
264 km (164 mi)
SSE from epicenter
Río Bueno

Los Ríos Region, Chile.
273 km (170 mi)
NNE from epicenter
Cauquenes

Maule Region, Chile.
283 km (176 mi)
NE from epicenter
Parral

Maule Region, Chile.
285 km (177 mi)
SSE from epicenter
Osorno

Los Lagos Region, Chile.
319 km (198 mi)
SE from epicenter
San Martín de los Andes

Neuquen, Argentina.
321 km (199 mi)
NE from epicenter
Linares

Maule Region, Chile.
332 km (206 mi)
NNE from epicenter
Constitución

Maule Region, Chile.
336 km (209 mi)
NE from epicenter
San Javier

Maule Region, Chile.
346 km (215 mi)
ESE from epicenter
Zapala

Neuquen, Argentina.
356 km (221 mi)
NE from epicenter
Talca

Maule Region, Chile.
369 km (229 mi)
SSE from epicenter
Puerto Varas

Los Lagos Region, Chile.
386 km (240 mi)
SSE from epicenter
Puerto Montt

Los Lagos Region, Chile.
Cities and Towns around the epicenter of this earthquake.

Earthquake Intensity Map

The intensity in shaking and damage by this earthquake is illustrated through the map below. The highest intensity measured for this earthquake is V.

I Not felt
II Weak
III Weak
IV Light
V Moderate
VI Strong
VII Very Strong
VIII Severe
IX Violent
X Extreme
Earthquake Intensity Map based on Shakemap Data provided by USGS.

Shaking reported by 13 people

People that feel an earthquake may report their experience to the US Geographic Survey. Currently, 13 people have reported shaking in 11 places, all within Chile.We keep updating this article as more ground reports become available. You may report that you felt this earthquake here.

Places with most reports:

  • Temuco, Araucanía, Chile: 3 people.
  • Loncoche, Araucanía, Chile: 1 person.
  • Nueva Imperial, Araucanía, Chile: 1 person.
  • Vilcún, Araucanía, Chile: 1 person.
  • Cabrero, Bío Bío, Chile: 1 person.
  • Cañete, Bío Bío, Chile: 1 person.
  • Coronel, Bío Bío, Chile: 1 person.
  • Nacimiento, Bío Bío, Chile: 1 person.
  • Penco, Bío Bío, Chile: 1 person.
  • Talcahuano, Bío Bío, Chile: 1 person.

9 Aftershocks detected

This main shock was followed by 9 smaller aftershocks. A 5.1 magnitude earthquake hit 9 mins later 8 km (5 mi) west-southwest of this earthquake.

Overview of foreshocks and aftershocks

Classification Magnitude When Where
Main Shock
This Earthquake
M 5.8 Dec 24, 2023 00:23
(Santiago Time)
-
Aftershock M 5.1 9 mins later
Dec 24, 2023 00:32 (Santiago Time)
8 km (5 mi)
WSW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.3 47 mins later
Dec 24, 2023 01:10 (Santiago Time)
13 km (8 mi)
W from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.3 3 hrs later
Dec 24, 2023 02:55 (Santiago Time)
7 km (4 mi)
WSW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.4 3 hrs later
Dec 24, 2023 03:00 (Santiago Time)
10 km (6 mi)
W from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.5 11 hrs later
Dec 24, 2023 11:31 (Santiago Time)
12 km (7 mi)
WSW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.1 1 day later
Dec 25, 2023 05:19 (Santiago Time)
61 km (38 mi)
WSW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.2 2 days later
Dec 25, 2023 14:20 (Santiago Time)
56 km (35 mi)
W from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 2.5 2 days later
Dec 25, 2023 20:58 (Santiago Time)
26 km (16 mi)
W from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 2.9 2 days later
Dec 25, 2023 22:32 (Santiago Time)
38 km (23 mi)
WSW from Main Shock.
Detected MAG2.5+ earthquakes within within 100km (62 mi), that occurred in the three days before and after the main shock.

More earthquakes coming?

The risk of aftershocks decreases rapidly over time. Usually, aftershocks are at least one order of magnitude lower than a main shock.

In only six percent of cases, significant earthquakes are followed by a larger main shock, making the current earthquake a foreshock. While the chance of this happening is not so large, it is adviced to maintain cautiousness in the hours and days following a major earthquake.

Read: How to Stay Safe during an Earthquake (cdc.gov).

Earthquakes like this are common in the region

Earthquakes of this strength occur quite regularly in the region. This is the strongest earthquake to hit since March 30th, 2023, when a 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit 270 km (168 mi) further north. An even stronger magnitude 6.7 earthquake struck on December 27th, 2020.

In total, 11 earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.8 or higher have been registered within 300km (186 mi) of this epicenter in the past 10 years. This comes down to an average of once every year.

Low tsunami risk

DISCLAIMER: We strongly suggest to closely monitor advice from local authorities with regards to tsunami risks. Our analysis is based on automatically collected data from external sources, and these might contain mistakes. In addition, earthquakes can cause landslides that may lead to a tsunami, or be a followed by another, potentially stonger, earthquake.

Based on early data it appears this earthquake was not strong enough (lower than MAG-6.5) to be likely to cause destructive tsunami's. However this earthquake appeared to have hit at a shallow depth under sea, so stay cautious and monitor advice from local authorities.

Tsunami Risk Factors

Factor Under Sea? MAG-6.5 or stronger? Shallow depth?
Explanation Almost all tsunami's are caused by earthquakes with their epicenter under sea or very near the sea. However stay cautious in coastal areas as earthquakes on land may cause landslides into sea, potentially still causing a local tsunami. Under MAG 6.5: Very unlikely to cause a tsunami.
MAG 6.5 to 7.5: Destructive tsunami's do occur, but are uncommon. Likely to observe small sea level changes.
MAG 7.6+: Earthquakes with these magnitudes might produce destructive tsunami's.
Most destructive tsunami's are caused by shallow earthquakes with a depth between 0 and 100km under the surface of the earth. Deeper tsunami's are unlikely to displace to ocean floor.
This Earthquake This earthquake appears to have struck under the sea. Not this earthquake.
This earthquake had a magnitude of 5.8. Earthquakes of this strength are unlikely to trigger a tsunami.
This earthquake occurred at a depth of of 11 km (7 mi). Earthquakes this shallow could trigger a tsunami.

Sources

Last updated 21/02/24 12:38 (). As more information on this earthquake becomes available this article will be updated. This article is automatically composed based on data originating from multiple sources.

  1. US Geographic Society (USGS): Earthquake us7000ll6h
  2. Geonames.org: World Cities Database
  3. Google Maps: Static API
  4. Earthquakelist.org: Historic Earthquakes Database

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