‘We assumed that the area of the 1877 earthquake would eventually rupture, but all indications are that this 8.2 event was not the 8.8 event we were looking for,’ said Kevin Furlong, professor of geophysics at Penn State.
The April earthquake was nine times less energetic than the 1877 event, findings show. It took place on the northern portion of the subduction zone where the Nazca plate slides under the South American plate. ‘There can still be a big earthquake there,’ said Furlong. ‘It didn’t release the total hazard, but it told us something about this large earthquake area – that an 8.8 rupture doesn’t always happen.’