Deep M7.3 in Colombia, Insured Losses Less than $100M
A magnitude 7.3 earthquake occurred in southern Colombia on September 30, 2012. Insured losses are expected to be minimal, mainly because of the earthquake's 170 km depth.
This earthquake occurred with a normal faulting mechanism in the subducted Nazca Plate (i.e., Benioff zone) of the South America Subduction Zone. It was felt widely throughout Colombia at varying degrees of intensity, as shown by the USGS community intensity map.
Colombia Earthquake - October 1, 2012
Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Although strong-intensity shaking was not widespread (and would not be expected) for this relatively deep earthquake, localized pockets of significant shaking intensity, as seen in the figure, are not surprising. Sites with very soft soils can experience significant shaking amplification even for earthquakes at long distances (including distance as a function of depth).
Colombia and Ecuador are located in a unique tectonic setting at the triple junction of the Nazca, Carribean, and South American plates. Earthquake risk stems not only from large subduction-related earthquakes but also from major shallow strike-slip earthquakes.
Central America Tectonic Plates - October 1, 2012
Source: Science Photo Library
Users of EQECAT's WORLDCATenterprise are advised to consider event ID 5435 in model region 106 (South America Line Sources) as the best proxy for this earthquake. This event represents a M7.2 Benioff earthquake on the segment that ruptured at a depth between 160 and 180 km.
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