Pedro Mariño de Lobera, who was corregidor of Valdivia by that time, wrote that the waters of the river opened like the Red Sea, one part flowing upstream and one downstream. Mariño de Lobera also evacuated the city until the dam at Laguna de Anigua (nowadays Riñihue Lake) burst. At that moment he wrote that, while many Indians died, no Spaniards did, as the settlement of Valdivia was moved temporarily away from the riverside.
The effects of this earthquake are similar to the 1960 Valdivia earthquake that also caused ensuing Riñihuazo flooding. These similarities show that large earthquakes have a pattern that span over several centuries.