The earthquake that struck Chile on Feb. 27 was so massive that it moved the entire city of Concepcion 10 feet to the west, according to one new study. Concepcion isn’t far from the quake’s epicenter in Maule, but other, more distant towns moved as well. Santiago moved 11 inches, and even Buenos Aires, which is 800 miles from Maule, moved an inch.
One earth scientist who worked on the project believes the Chile quake will possibly be “the most important great earthquake yet studied.” The 8.8-magnitude quake was the fifth strongest on record, and occurred in a subduction zone—an area where an oceanic plate meets a continental one. Such zones have historically produced the strongest quakes, and this time scientists have more modern, precise instruments at their disposal.