In about two months from now, I will be in one of the Ring of Fire’s “Hot Zones”—coastal Chile, where a Richter 8.3 quake has just struck not more than a couple of hours ago. Most articles centered on the effects of the quake on Santiago, though the epicenter was 144 miles northwest of the capital, which suffered minimal danger because it is built on rock, namely the foothills of the Andes.
The city of Coquimbo, nearer the epicenter, has already seen tsunami waves as high as 4.5 meters (about 14 feet), and even California and New Zealand are expected to feel some activity.
I will be in Valparaíso for several days in late November, though I will be on higher ground on Cerro Alegre. The port area is probably the most dangerous area: If there is another major earthquake, people will be running for the forty-three hills that surround the city in a semicircle.
Oh, I suppose I could visit less dangerous areas, like North Dakota or Manitoba, but I’ve always wanted to visit Chile, even if for just a few days. By then, with luck, the aftershocks will have died down some.
Today, I checked the volcanic activity at Calbuco and was delighted to find that its alert status has been lowered to green.