Tsunami Safety Zone


Iquique is a native word for “pleasant place.” It has no (NO!!) rainfall, though almost always cloudy with fogs. On the Pacific rim, sudden, unexpected inundation by water is a fact of life. At this point, the corner of Manuel Bulnes and Avenue of the Heroes of the Conception, the land is sloping up toward the escarpment, 125 feet above sea level, one mile from the ocean. Here we are “officially safe,” an oxymoron.

Twenty months prior Iquique was struck by an offshore earthquake, 8.2 magnitude, followed by a seven foot tsunami. Here, Matarani, Coquimbo, Valparaiso I was happy when we passed these signs (with English translations for us tourists). Traffic congestion would doom us if an earthquake/tsunami struck during the port/downtown transit.

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“We are now safe”

On this lot is a dwelling, haphazardly constructed of concrete blocks, evidence of desperate poverty. The fence signs (“Se Vende” — for sale) presage the leveling of this corner. Just this year, the street has seen riots…….

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Wikipedia – “Iquique“, “2014 Iquique earthquake.”

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