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On 15 March 2010, seismologist Mario Pardo from the University of Chile Seismological Service ruled out that Pichilemu was experiencing a seismic swarm, after public concerns about the continued aftershocks in the area; From the pattern of aftershocks, it has been suggested that this earthquake originated from rupture along a previously unknown geological fault, the Pichilemu Fault, between Pichilemu and the commune of Vichuquén in Maule Region, at 15 km depth, 40 km in length and 20 km wide.
Presidents Néstor Kirchner of Argentina, Evo Morales of Bolivia, Álvaro Uribe of Colombia, Rafael Correa of Ecuador, and Fernando Lugo of Paraguay were present at the ceremony, but television footage showed that the inauguration was not interrupted, even though there was a tsunami warning in place; Piñera subsequently declared a catastrophe state in O'Higgins Region as a result of the earthquake, and appointed Army General Antonio Yackcich as Area Commander in Chief (Jefe de Plaza) for the region, while he was visiting Rancagua that day.
Rancagua, the capital of O'Higgins Region, was also damaged, leading President Sebastián Piñera to declare a catastrophe state in O'Higgins Region.
Nearly all of the territory of Chile is subject to earthquakes, arising from strains in the subducting Nazca and South American Plates or shallow strike-slip faults.
The subduction zone along the Chilean coast produced the most powerful earthquake ever recorded, the 1960 Valdivia earthquake.
On 27 February 2010, a strong earthquake, which reached a magnitude of 8.8 on the moment magnitude scale, hit central Chile.
The earthquake occurred in the region of the plate boundary between the Nazca and South American plates, offshore Maule Region.
The earthquake produced a tsunami which caused great damage in cities and towns along the Chilean coast; Chilean seismologists, including Sergio Barrientos from the University of Chile Seismological Service, were worried about the "absence of an earthquake around magnitude 7 following the February 27 quake." The Pichilemu earthquake was caused by the change in regional stress from the 27 February earthquake.
Preliminary analyses by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) of the 11 March earthquake locations and seismic-wave radiation patterns suggested that the event resulted from normal faulting within the subducting Nazca plate or the overriding South America plate, unlike the 27 February earthquake, which occurred as thrust faulting on the interface between the two plates.
The earthquake has been given three different locations: the University of Chile Seismological Service (Servicio Sismológico de la Universidad de Chile) stated that the event occurred 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) northwest of Pichilemu, at a depth of 33.1 kilometres (20.6 mi); the United States Geological Service reported the earthquake occurred 105 kilometres (65 mi) west of Rancagua, capital of O'Higgins Region, at a depth of 11 kilometres (6.8 mi); and local online newspaper Pichilemu News reported the earthquake occurred 35 kilometres (22 mi) northeast of Pichilemu, between the villages of Panilonco and La Aguada, and reached a moment magnitude of 7.2.
intraplate earthquake that struck Chile's O'Higgins Region on 11 March 2010.
The earthquake was centred 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) northwest of the city of Pichilemu, according to the University of Chile Seismological Service.
The earthquake was caused by increased regional stress arising from an earthquake on 27 February, centered offshore Maule Region, which was felt throughout central Chile.