The campaign executed by the Marine Research and Innovation Center (MERIC) and the Austral University of Chile (UACh) was focused in the “Primera Angostura” and the “Segunda Angostura” (first and second narrows of the strait of Magellan).

Chile is a highly seismic country and its austral region is no exception. The Valdivia  (1960 – 9.5 [ML]), Magellan (1879 -7.3 [ML]) and Aysén (2007 – 6.2 [ML]) earthquakes, are clear examples of this. Considering the previous, experts from the Project “Adaptation of technology to natural threats and local restrictions” of MERIC, travelled to the southern tip of the country to carry out various soil studies. The purpose of the campaign was to identify and characterize the seismic risk of an area that could have a high potential for the generation of marine energy in the future.

“If we evaluate the extreme conditions of Chile, it becomes absolutely necessary to consider seismic threats and the restrictions of our environment in the adaptation and implementation of devices for the extraction of marine energy. In this way, we can maximize the lifespan and long-term survival of these technologies and thus propose cost-efficient solutions for the development of marine energy “, said Galo Valdebenito, MERIC researcher and director of the Research center on Natural and Anthropological Risks (RINA) of the Universidad Austral de Chile.

The experts made temporary installations of seismographs and seismic arrangements of geophones in the Strait of Magellan. These instruments allowed them to characterize the stratigraphy (vertical layers of soil) in the area. With this information they determined the dynamic properties of the soil and other relevant parameters in the definition of the seismic activity characteristics. The data complemented previously collected measurements throughout the southern zone of Chile and will also allow to obtain more information about the seismic threat and local restrictions for the future deployment of technologies at sea.

“In this first stage, our objective is to quantify the seismic threat in southern Chile, particularly in the zone of the ‘Primera’ and ‘Segunda Angostura’ in the Strait of Magellan, because it has high potential for marine energy generation” , clarifies Galo Valdebenito.

The seismic campaign developed by MERIC and the Universidad Austral de Chile was successful, making it possible to study Cabo Posesión and Punta Dungeness in addition to the “Primera” and “Segunda Angostura”. Thanks to this, the experts trust that they will be able to characterize these zones, in terms of amplifications and local danger associated with earthquakes. This will be of great help for the development of marine energy and specially to improve the adaptation of technologies to the conditions of Chile.