eso9510 — Organisation Release
Earthquake in Antofagasta
ESO's Solidarity with the Region
2 August 1995, Santiago
The Antofagasta Earthquake of last Sunday, July 30, 1:15 hours, violently shook Cerro Paranal, the site where ESO, the European Southern Observatory, is building the VLT, the world's largest optical telescope. The quake's intensity in Paranal was estimated at grade 8 on the Richter scale.
Fortunately no casualties or victims occurred at the site. Studies are under way to assess possible displacements of the concrete and steel structures of the telescope units.
The contractor for the construction of the telescope enclosure structures has reported damages which are not yet quantified. The filled-in area on the South East side of the Telescope Platform
shows large settlement cracks and considerable damages have been reported inside the Base Camps.
In these difficult moments, ESO wants to express its solidarity with the local community and its authorities and has made 25 million Chilean pesos (US $66,000) available for the reconstruction of the Region.
Addition on August 22, 1995: Fortunately, only minor damages were found at Paranal; they have been repaired in the meantime. For the most recent information, see the ESO Press Release eso9517, issued on August 22, 1995.