Chile detects 8,000 quakes in 2017
Chile registered 8,094 earthquakes in 2017, the highest number since 2010, the National Seismological Center reported on Thursday.
Of the year's total -- which marks a 26 percent and 25 percent increase over 2016 and 2015 respectively, 352 were strong enough to be felt by the general population.
Are earthquakes on the rise or are researchers armed with more sensitive instruments capable of detecting even the slightest seismic waves? The center's director, Sergio Barrientos, indicated it's likely both.
"Chile is one of the most earthquake-prone countries on the planet and this annual figure is mainly the result of our improved monitoring network, which allows us to detect and observe a much wider spectrum of seismic activity, and in greater detail, compared to previous years," said Barrientos.
According to the expert, for every magnitude-7 earthquake in Chile, there are approximately 10 of magnitude 6, 100 of magnitude 5 and so on.
In April, the country registered four quakes above magnitude 6 some 120 kilometers off the coast of northern Chile, including one that rang in at 6.9 on the Richter scale.
Chile's strongest recent quake was a powerful 8.2 temblor that hit the northern Coquimbo region in September 2015.
"What is clear is that we live in one of the most seismically active countries in the world, so our duty as citizens is to be individually and collectively prepared, on a permanent basis, to handle the potential consequences of these natural phenomena. In other words, always live with a culture of prevention," said Barrientos.
Chile lies along the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, where nearly 90 percent of the earth's earthquakes occur.