1994 Bolivia earthquake

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1994 Bolivia earthquake
1994 Bolivia earthquake is located in Bolivia
1994 Bolivia earthquake
UTC time ??
ISC event
Date * June 9, 1994 (1994-06-09)
Local date
Local time
Magnitude 8.2 Mw [1]
Depth 647 kilometres (402 mi) [1]
Epicenter 13°7′S 67°3′W / 13.117°S 67.050°W / -13.117; -67.050 [2]
Areas affected Bolivia
Deprecated  See documentation.

The 1994 Bolivia earthquake occurred on June 9, 1994. The epicenter was located in a sparsely populated region in the Amazon jungle, about 200 miles from La Paz.[2]

The Harvard CMT Project assigned it a focal depth of 647 km and a magnitude MW of 8.2,[2] making it, at the time, the largest earthquake since the 1977 Sumba earthquake, later superseded by more recent larger events (e.g., 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake). It is also the second largest earthquake ever recorded with a focal depth greater than 300 km,[3] the largest currently being the 2013 Okhotsk Sea earthquake. South America also experienced the then second and third largest earthquakes at focal depths greater than 300 km: Colombia, 1970; and northern Peru, 1922.[2]


The rupture was located on the Nazca plate where it is being pushed beneath the mantle of the South American continent.[3] It shook the ground from Argentina to Canada and its oscillations were the first to be captured on a modern seismic network.[3] Light damage to buildings was felt in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[4]


The quake also disproved scientists' opinions on deep earthquakes. According to the squeeze theory of earthquakes, pressures and temperatures at the depth of 200 to 400 miles should be so great that rock should not undergo frictional sliding. Most geologists had believed that the crushing pressures and increasing heat, below a certain depth, compressed rocks into deeper forms, creating huge cracks in the Earth's surface.[4] The Bolivian earthquake was 395 miles below sea level and, according to geologist Paul G. Silver, the earthquake "looks and acts and talks like these shallow earthquakes. But it shouldn't exist."[4]

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