BTN Comparison between Haiti and Chile earthquakes- 2010

Link to video:


This BTN video was about 2 earthquakes and how their similar and different. One of them was in Haiti, and the other was in Chile. They both happened in 2010, and they were also really close in months. In fact, a month after the Haiti earthquake, Chile got one too!  Freaky, 2 earthquakes in 2 months. These particular earthquakes were both really dangerous, but the BTN video was comparing how each of them were dangerous. Here’s a bit more on what was similar and different about these 2 earthquakes.


Let’s start with what was similar about these 2 natural disasters. Firstly, they were both earthquakes. And that means they would have been triggered the same way. Earthquakes happen when 2 tectonic plates collide, and a burst of energy flows through the crack created. Basically, the stronger the energy, the more dangerous it is. Earthquakes are really common where there are a lot of tectonic plates, and it so happens that Haiti and Chile are prone areas. This is because of another similarity between the 2 quakes, both countries are in the ring of fire. An important factor about these 2 earthquakes was they both realised a lot of energy. But that also meant that a natural disaster was coming, a tsunami. It took Chile and Haiti by storm, as whole towns (and buildings + roads) crumbled. Even boats ended up on land, but the worst part was families were separated. The two tsunamis weren’t as powerful as each other (Chile’s was worse) or at the same time, but they both still happened. Another similarity is they both got international aid, so it will be easier to rebuild buildings that have fallen. And lastly, the final similarity about these 2 earthquakes is they were both dangerous.


Now let’s look at the differences between the 2 earthquakes. To determine how destructive a natural disaster is, you measure the death toll, economic loss and how hard it is to rebuild. The Haiti earthquake had a death toll of 250,000 people, and there was also a lot of injured. The Chile earthquake killed approximately 500 people, yet it was 500 times more powerful. The Haiti earthquake had the magnitude of 7 on the richter scale, but the Chile earthquake had the magnitude of 8.8. That doesn’t seem like the biggest difference, but it actually has a huge impact on how destructive the earthquakes were. The ridged scale is how you measure how damaging earthquakes are, and it goes from 1 to 10.  Every time you increase a number, it’s showing that the earthquake has 30 times more energy than last time. So it was a massive difference that Chile’s earthquake was 500 times more powerful, but why did less people die?  Well, Chile is a 1st world country, while Haiti is a 3rd world country (another difference).  That means that Chile has more money than Haiti, so they can make their surrounding safer. They have special building rules so they can use materials like steel to stop building shaking. The more materials you have to stop the building shaking, the stronger it will last. Haiti on the other hand, well they don’t have these special rules. Their building are mostly made out of weak materials. So more buildings collapsed (with people in them) than in Chile, causing more deaths.



In conclusion, there were a lot of similarities and differences between these 2 earthquakes. I believe the Haiti earthquake was more destructive, since more lives were lost. So in some ways I feel that the Haiti earthquake was more damaging, but the Chile earthquake could have destroyed a lot more.


Something I understand now is how important it is to have strong buildings. Everyone is worrying about the drills (to know how to escape safely), but we also need good protection for those who don’t make it out of the building.


A question I have is which countries helped these 2 countries? And were their ones that helped one country, but not the other (why)?


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