Brazilians learn in elementary school that the country has been blessed with the absence of hurricanes, active volcanoes and earthquakes. Shakes, however, are becoming quite common in the until recently unmovable land. Just last Friday there was a quite powerful earthquake in the Central West region of Brazil.
The Seismological Observatory at the University of Brasília (UnB) has revised its data and now says it was 5.0 on the Richter scale with the epicenter in northern Goiás, near the towns of Mara Rosa and Estrela do Norte, approximately 500 kilometers from Brasilia.
The tremor was felt in the capital where a number of buildings were evacuated.
At Mara Rosa and Estrela do Norte, small towns with total population of around 15,000, walls cracked and residents said there was a loud noise … “Like a tractor in the house,” said one lady.
The Friday earthquake was the second one registered in a week. On Monday, October 4, there was another one that measured 3.6 on the Richter scale also in the north of Goiás, near the border with the state of Tocantins.
In the Federal District, several buildings were evacuated and residents reported that they felt the ground shake at around 5:15 pm. There were reports of tremors felt in downtown Brasília as well as Santa Maria, Águas Claras, Taguatinga and the Industry Sector, among other regions.
The seismological observatory of UNB informed that this was the largest ever quake in the Federal District.
The largest earthquake ever documented in Brazil occurred in 1955 in Porto dos Gaúchos, Serra do Tombador in the midwestern state of Mato Grosso, and had a magnitude of 6.6 on the Richter scale.
The most destructive earthquakes occurred this year in Haiti (magnitude 7 on January 12) and Chile (magnitude 8.8 on February 27). More than 226 000 people died in 2010 as a result of earthquakes.
The recent Brazilian tremors were caused by a fault located in Goiás and Tocantins. “These states are cut by a lineament called Transbrasiliano. This area is a set of fault lines that sometimes move and generate these earthquakes.”
Also according to the UnB’s Observatory, the fault located between Goiás and Tocantins often cause tremors in the region, but they are rarely felt.