Written by on . Last updated March 2nd, 2024.

A significant M5.4 foreshock struck in the South Pacific Ocean 63 kilometer from Vallenar, Chile in the evening of Sunday February 11th, 2024. Roughly 0.8 million people may have felt this earthquake.

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Earthquake Summary

This earthquake hit under water in the South Pacific Ocean, right off the coast of Chile (9 mi offshore), 63 kilometer northwest of Vallenar in Atacama. The center of this earthquake had a quite shallow depth of 34 km. Shallow earthquakes usually have a larger impact than earthquakes deep in the earth.

Date and Time: Feb 11, 2024 18:14 (Santiago Time)
- Feb 11, 2024 21:14 Universal Time.
Location: 63 km NW of Vallenar, Atacama, Chile.
Coordinates 28°14'42"S 71°17'5"W.
Map: Map of area around epicenter.
Map of area around epicenter. Click to open in Google Maps.
Magnitude: MAG 5.4
Detected by 36 stations. Maximum Error Range ±0.052 .
Depth: 34 km (21 mi)
A quite 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 0.8 million people exposed to shaking

An estimated 0.8 million have been exposed to shaking (An MMI or Modified Mercalli Intensity level II or higher) as a result of this earthquake according scientific estimates published by the USGS.

Moderate shaking and very light damage may have been experienced by an estimated 8,760 people. At V, it is the highest MMI level this earthquake has caused. Intensity level III was experienced by the majority of people (around 680 thousand). In their region, weak shaking and probably no damage can be expected.

People in 2 countries have been exposed to shaking. Roughly 0.8 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
2,020
II
Very weak None
678,700
III
Weak Probably none
67,490
IV
Light Likely none
8,760
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

This earthquake may have been felt in Chile . Located 63 kilometer (39 mi) northwest of the epicenter of this earthquake, Vallenar (Atacama, Chile) is the nearest significant population center. The intensity of shaking and damage in Vallenar 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. Copiapó is located 135 km to the north-east and experienced an intensity of III (weak shaking, probably no damage). Coquimbo is located 190 km to the south and experienced an intensity of III (weak shaking, probably no damage). La Serena is located 185 km to the south and experienced an intensity of III (weak shaking, probably no damage).

A complete list of nearby places is included below. Estimated intensity data (MMI) sourced from a shake-map published by the US Geographic Survey is shown where available (cities without data probably experienced little impact).

Overview of nearby places

Distance Place Intensity (MMI)
63 km (39 mi)
SE from epicenter
Vallenar

Atacama, Chile.
IV
Light
135 km (84 mi)
NE from epicenter
Copiapó

Atacama, Chile.
III
Weak
185 km (115 mi)
S from epicenter
La Serena

Coquimbo Region, Chile.
III
Weak
190 km (118 mi)
S from epicenter
Coquimbo

Coquimbo Region, Chile.
III
Weak
240 km (149 mi)
NNE from epicenter
Diego de Almagro

Atacama, Chile.
262 km (163 mi)
S from epicenter
Ovalle

Coquimbo 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 2 people

People that feel an earthquake may report their experience to the US Geographic Survey. Currently, 2 people have reported shaking in one place in 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:

  • Copiapó, Atacama, Chile: 2 people.

This is likely a foreshock

This earthquake was followed by a stronger MAG-5.8 earthquake, classifying this earthquake as a foreshock.

Overview of foreshocks and aftershocks

Classification Magnitude When Where
Foreshock M 3.6 4 days earlier
Feb 10, 2024 09:35 (Santiago Time)
75 km (46 mi)
SSW from Main Shock.
Foreshock M 3.2 2 days earlier
Feb 11, 2024 12:36 (Santiago Time)
28 km (17 mi)
NNE from Main Shock.
Foreshock
This Earthquake
M 5.4 2 days earlier
Feb 11, 2024 18:14 (Santiago Time)
73 km (46 mi)
N from Main Shock.
Foreshock M 3.2 2 days earlier
Feb 12, 2024 07:16 (Santiago Time)
88 km (55 mi)
SW from Main Shock.
Foreshock M 3.0 6 hrs earlier
Feb 13, 2024 16:13 (Santiago Time)
75 km (47 mi)
NNE from Main Shock.
Main Shock M 5.8 Feb 13, 2024 22:31
(Santiago Time)
-
Aftershock M 3.7 29 mins later
Feb 13, 2024 23:00 (Santiago Time)
6 km (4 mi)
WSW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 2.8 1 hr later
Feb 13, 2024 23:39 (Santiago Time)
2.9 km (1.8 mi)
W from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 2.6 1 hr later
Feb 13, 2024 23:57 (Santiago Time)
7 km (4 mi)
W from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 2.7 2 hrs later
Feb 14, 2024 00:38 (Santiago Time)
5 km (3 mi)
SW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.3 4 hrs later
Feb 14, 2024 02:24 (Santiago Time)
7 km (4 mi)
WNW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.1 4 hrs later
Feb 14, 2024 02:37 (Santiago Time)
9 km (5 mi)
WNW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 2.9 4 hrs later
Feb 14, 2024 02:47 (Santiago Time)
8 km (5 mi)
W from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.3 8 hrs later
Feb 14, 2024 06:12 (Santiago Time)
68 km (43 mi)
N from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 2.9 10 hrs later
Feb 14, 2024 08:05 (Santiago Time)
8 km (5 mi)
WSW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.1 10 hrs later
Feb 14, 2024 08:13 (Santiago Time)
1 km (0.6 mi)
WNW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.0 18 hrs later
Feb 14, 2024 16:12 (Santiago Time)
4 km (2.7 mi)
WSW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.1 23 hrs later
Feb 14, 2024 21:11 (Santiago Time)
2.1 km (1.3 mi)
ESE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 2.9 1 day later
Feb 15, 2024 06:26 (Santiago Time)
8 km (5 mi)
WNW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 2.9 1 day later
Feb 15, 2024 07:28 (Santiago Time)
71 km (44 mi)
N from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 5.0 2 days later
Feb 15, 2024 20:59 (Santiago Time)
52 km (32 mi)
SW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.1 2 days later
Feb 15, 2024 22:36 (Santiago Time)
2.1 km (1.3 mi)
ESE 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?

Earthquakes can create aftershocks. These are generally at least 1 magnitude lower than any main shock, and as time passes the chance and strength of aftershocks decreases.

It's always adviced to be cautious of the risk of a larger shock following any significant earthquake, however this risk is fairly small. There is a roughly 94 percent change that no larger main shock will follow in the days following this earthquake.

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

Earthquakes like this happen often in the region

Earthquakes of this strength are very common in the region. This is the strongest earthquake to hit since January 22nd, 2024, when a 5.4 magnitude earthquake hit 235 km (146 mi) further south-southwest. An even stronger magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck on November 11th, 2015.

In total, 78 earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.4 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 2 months.

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 5.4. Earthquakes of this strength are unlikely to trigger a tsunami.
This earthquake occurred at a depth of of 34 km (21 mi). Earthquakes this shallow could trigger a tsunami.

Sources

Last updated 02/03/24 23:08 (). This article contains currently available information about the earthquake and is automatically composed. We continue to update this article up to a few days after the earthquake occurred.

  1. US Geographic Society (USGS): Earthquake us7000lyi6
  2. European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC): Earthquake 20240211_0000269
  3. Geonames.org: World Cities Database
  4. Google Maps: Static API
  5. Earthquakelist.org: Historic Earthquakes Database

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