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8.3 magnitude earthquake judders Chile

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Santiago: Chile got juddered as a 8.3 magnitude earthquake struck off its coast on Wednesday evening. The earthquake rocked buildings in the capital and unleashed a sense of pandemonium among the people who were found running on the streets. A tsunami alert was also issued, authorities said.

Picture credit: scholastic.com
Picture credit: scholastic.com

The epicenter was out at sea, 246 km from Santiago, Xinhua reported, citing the United States Geological Service.

Early reports indicate the earthquake occurred shortly at 7.55 p.m. local time at a depth of 10 km. A tsunami alert was immediately issued by the Chilean interior ministry and by the US’ Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. Chile and Peru are on high alert, although the alert was spread across a wide area reaching as far as Hawaii.

The magnitude of the earthquake was first reported at 7.2 by the University of Chile’s Seismological Service and later revised up to 7.7. The USGS first reported the magnitude of the quake at 7.9 and revised it up to 8.3.

There have been no reports of damage or injuries in the minutes following the earthquake but Chile has dispatched its Minister of the Interior Jorge Burgos to the zone to investigate.

Weather channels urged people located along the coast to move inland in preparation for the tsunami. Initial estimates from them said that a possible tsunami would make landfall at around 9.37 p.m local time.

The earthquake was felt particularly strongly in the towns of Valparaiso and Coquimbo and lasted for approximately one minute, according to eyewitness statements in local press.

Santiago Airport was immediately evacuated. Videos posted on social media networks show the earthquake was felt as far as the Argentinean capital of Buenos Aires, about 1,368 km to the east of Chile.

(IANS)

 

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Chile University Projects Loudspeaker for Blinds to Experience Solar Eclipse

"This allows people who can't see the eclipse to hear it," said the scientist. "As astronomers, this excites us"

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solar eclipse
People react while observing a solar eclipse at Incahuasi, a mountain in Chile, July 2, 2019. VOA

In the minutes before a solar eclipse plunged Chile into darkness, a loudspeaker projected a deep baritone to a group of blind men and women who had traveled to the Atacama desert to “hear” what hundreds of thousands of others had come to see.

Then, a moment of silence until the sunlight, and the sound, returned. Tourists from around the globe converged on the northern Chilean desert on Tuesday to witness the total eclipse under the world’s clearest skies.

University of Valparaiso

The musical experience, orchestrated by Chile’s University of Valparaiso, was designed to help blind people, or those with some level of visual impairment, experience the phenomenon through a change in the frequency of sounds.

“It was exciting, incredible, a magical experience,” said Octavio Oyarzún, 41, one of the thousands of people who came to the small town of Cachiyuyo, about 600 km (373 miles) north of Santiago. A professor of music and blind from birth, Oyarzún traveled from the nearby port of Caldera to “listen” to the eclipse, the first in the region since 1592, according to Chilean astronomers.

solar eclipse
A man looks up at a total solar eclipse in La Higuera, Chile, July 2, 2019. VOA

“It’s like a gift from science to be able to live this sensitive experience that we could not otherwise experience,” added Oyarzún, who is married to a blind woman with whom he has two children who can see. “I feel like a bridge to the unknown, something that makes it possible to translate into the world of sounds what would be a mystery to us,” he added.

ALSO READ: NASA’s Dragonfly Mission to Find Out the Possibilities of Life on Saturn’s Moon Titan

Lightsound “translates” light into sound

The sound-making device, called Lightsound, was developed by Puerto Rican astrophysicist Wanda Díaz Merced. It “translates” a greater amount of light into high-pitched sounds and greater darkness into bass sounds, Chilean astronomer Catalina Arcos told Reuters.

Arcos, a professor at the Institute of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Valparaíso, helped to organize the observation site in Cachiyuyo, a town of less than 300.

“This allows people who can’t see the eclipse to hear it,” said the scientist. “As astronomers, this excites us.” Denisse Reyes, 34, said the experience surprised her. “I can perceive lights, I can recognize day and night, but this amazed me. I felt like I was entering the mysterious world of the planets and the solar system,” she said. (VOA)