Here are some photographs of the Chilean coast due west of the epicenter of the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that struck on February 27, 2010. The towns shown are Pelluhue, Curanipe, and Pellines.
The three tidal waves which hit the area reportedly (by the carabineros or police) had heights of 13, 16 and 18 meters (roughly 40 to 60 feet). Nothing survived in their wake, no matter how solid the construction. Basically, nothing made it that was 500 meters from shore, give or take a couple hundred meters depending on the topography, unless it was situated well above the incoming waves. I have a friend from Linares (directly inland) who had a well-built 5 bedroom home, beautiful and only five years old, located in the area picture below. He and his wife were in the house when the quake hit and after the shaking stopped they rushed to put a few things together and drive to higher ground. The waves came in just five minutes later. He barely made it out in time. When all was said and done, there was nothing left of their Pelluhue home. It was completely erased by the waves. He had insurance but it did not cover tidal waves, only earthquake and fire damage. So he suffered a 100% loss, unlike some of the images below which at least show some remnants of the original house above the foundation.
Seeing all this devastation makes one wonder how it is possible that the casualties were not much higher in this part of Chile.
The second floor of this house was full of sand from the waves. Even the ceiling was ripped down as the sea water passed through.
Do you think there was force in a wave, 500 meters from shore, that was able to manhandle these homes? It broke out these chunks of the wall on the second floor of this house.
Note the shoe still lodged in the roof and lots of sand and debris below. The house must have been an “aquarium state” for some time.
Note the columns knocked out by the waves, leaving bent iron behind. This was a sold house, built of bricks, iron frame and concrete through and through. The surviving tile and finish work show it was not cheap or low quality.
The wall is painted with instructions (in red) not to demolish the house since the owner has responsibility to do so. Evidently the local or national government has been taking on many other demolition projects elsewhere in the region.
Big trees hardly stood a chance in the face of the forceful waves.
Nearby Curanipe (dues south) likewise suffered the loss of a couple dozen homes. The poor little town of Pellines just up the coast took some big hits in lower-lying homes as the one pictured below.
The following photographs are from Constitución (like the ones above, take on August 22, 2010). This city suffered tremendous damage as well, even though it was an hour north of the epicenter and he waves were bound to have been somewhat smaller. Lumber and other plants were destroyed, still closed, leaving many men without work. Missing persons photographs are still posted.
David and Matthew enjoyed scaling the rock formations.
Makeshift housing provided by the government.
Imagine the huge waves bashing in the side of this house!
Another coastal plant leveled by the waves, this one directly facing the rocky beach and its Pacific surf.