The earthquake and tsunami with Megathrust 3,800 years ago kept wildlife hunters in Chile afloat for 1,000 years.

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A team of researchers has found evidence of a megathrust earthquake that occurred about 3,800 years ago off the coast of what is now Chile. In their paper published in the journal Scientific advancesthe group explained the evidence they had about the upcoming tsunami and its impact on those living in the area at the time.

In 1966, a major earthquake shook the world in southern Chile. Seismographs reported 9.5 on the Richter scale – the strongest earthquake in recorded history. In this latest work, researchers have found evidence of a similarly powerful earthquake that occurred about 3,800 years ago – which triggered a massive tsunami that devastated early animal hunters. living on the beach.

The researchers’ task was to dig up layers of soil in the Atacama Desert to find soil left over from the tsunami. Radiocarbon emissions from shells and coal fragments have been reported in sediment from about 3,800 years ago. Because of the magnitude of the tsunami, a garbage trail was left for 1,000 miles or pushed the sea 15 to 20 meters above sea level.

Territory and Resilience in the Atacama hyperarid wilderness. Silver: Diego Salazar

The coast of Chile is in a low -lying region – the Nazca Plateau is being pushed deeper into South America, and as a result, there have been many earthquakes. Sometimes they are big earthquakes, called megathrusts. Crabmaking is part of the Andes Mountains and its volcanic activity.

Calculation of tsunami amplitude Mw9.5 Eq NChile. Found: Mauricio Fuentes

The researchers also found evidence of population centers moving after a tsunami – people moved uphill. There were also reports of people moving to their graves. Researchers have found that people have not returned to the beach for a thousand years and are more likely to move closer to the ocean. The researchers noted that they did not see any evidence of tsunami memory for as long as people did not have access to written language. They also believe that their work can help with safety measures for those who live in the area today.

Paleo beaches eroded by the earthquake at the Zapatero archaeological site. Photo: Gabriel Easton

The other earthquake reveals a hidden mechanism

More information:
Diego Salazar et al, An earthquake of 3800 Mw ~ 9.5 years ago caused a major disturbance in the Atacama desert ?, Scientific advances (2022). DOI: 10.1126 / sciadv.abm2996

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