ann1010 — Announcement

ESO Expresses Support for Victims of Chile Earthquake; No Damage to ESO Observatories

28 February 2010

A magnitude 8.8 earthquake struck central Chile at 03:34 local time (07:34 CET) on Saturday 27 February 2010. The epicentre was 115 km north-northeast of the city of Concepción and 325 km south-west of the capital Santiago. The earthquake has caused significant casualties and damage in the country.

ESO expresses its deepest condolences to the families of the victims, and its sympathy and support for all those affected by the earthquake.

No casualties among ESO staff have been reported. At present, power cuts and network interruptions mean that communication may be limited. Disruption to staff travel plans within, to, and from Chile should be expected. We urge Visiting Astronomers with observations planned at ESO observatories to put their trips to Chile on hold until further notice. International flights to and from Santiago International Airport are currently either cancelled or diverted. Information about observing programmes will be provided at a later date.

Despite being the 7th strongest earthquake ever recorded worldwide, the ESO observatory sites did not suffer any damage, partly as they are engineered to withstand seismic activity and partly due to their distances from the epicentre. At La Silla, a power cut caused observations to be interrupted for 10 minutes, but proceeded then normally on generator power for the rest of the night. Paranal Observatory, the APEX telescope and the ALMA Operations Support Facility and Array Operations Site were unaffected.

Links

Contacts

Lars Lindberg Christensen
Head of ESO ePOD
Garching, Germany
Tel: +49 89 3200 6761
Cell: +49 173 387 2621
Email: lars@eso.org

Douglas Pierce-Price
Garching, Germany
Tel: +49 89 3200 6759
Email: dpiercep@eso.org

Gonzalo Argandoña
Santiago, Chile
Tel: +56 2 463 3258
Email: gonzalo.argandona@gmail.com

About the Announcement

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