4 Months In a Hole…

I know these guys are glad to be alive… And it is a rare bit of good news in this type of disaster.

But can you imagine having to spend 4 months in hollow, 1/2 mile under the earth?

Which raises the question – Chile also has frequent earthquakes…

Chilean president Sebastián Piñera holds up a message from the trapped miners.

Trapped Chilean miners found alive – but rescue will take four months

A group of Chilean miners trapped for 17 days deep inside a collapsed mine are alive, the Chilean president, Sebastián Piñera, said tonight – but it will take at least four months to set them free.

A rescue probe that drilled down 2,257 feet (688 metres) to the bottom of the San Jose mine made contact with the miners, who sent back a message reading: “All 33 of us are well inside the shelter.”

“Never have so few words brought such happiness to an entire nation,” said Piñera as he read out the handwritten note.

A second note from the miners indicated they were living in a makeshift refuge. Using a bulldozer, they have created a canal of fresh water and have used electricity from a truck engine to rig up lighting deep inside the notoriously dangerous copper mine.

Aides to Piñera warned that it would take a minimum of four months to free the men. “A shaft 66cm in diameter will take at least 120 days,” said Andre Sougarret, lead engineer on the rescue operation. Rescue equipment from around the world is being rushed in to build an escape tunnel nearly 700 metres underground.

The miners were trapped on 5 August by a massive collapse in the roof of the mine, located outside the northern Chilean city of Copiapó. For two weeks, a series of probes has tunnelled hundreds of metres trying to find the refuge where the miners were thought to be gathered. They repeatedly missed their mark, and officials began blaming the mine for not operating with updated maps or modern safety equipment.

Using the hole created by the probes, rescue workers now plan to send down food, medicine and water as doctors struggle to keep the men alive and healthy while mining experts debate the options for building an escape route.

Comparing Haiti and Chile Earthquakes

Despite the size of the earthquake in Chile being two orders of magnitude worse than that of Haiti’s – the damage is going to be substantially different for a number of reasons. First, the Chilean quake epicenter was along the coastline in Chile, which is sparsely populated. Second, because Chile has had numerous earthquakes, with the most active geological fault in the world running down the center of the country, they have extensive knowledge (and building codes) in the area of building earthquake resistant structures. Coastal Chile has a history of deadly earthquakes, with 13 temblors of magnitude 7.0 or higher since 1973 – as a result, newer buildings are constructed to help withstand the shocks.

Most of the serious damage in Chile will be a long the coastline and the major highway running North-South, although damage in Santiago is reported to be substantial.

Saturday’s quake was 700 to 800 times stronger than the 7.0-magnitude quake that struck Haiti in January, leaving 212,000 people dead and more than a million homeless.

However, it occurred at a greater depth — 21.7 miles — compared to the shallow 8.1-mile depth of the Haiti quake, which contributed to much of the damage there. As such, the basic infrastructure damage (hospitals, fire, police) hopefully is far, far less than the total destruction we saw in Haiti.

With that said, the people of Chile will still need international support, to get food and materials on the ground until the Chilean Government can put things back together. Unlike Haiti, Chile has a strong, stable government, and the most stable economy in South America.

more about “Difference Between Earthquake IN Chil…“, posted with vodpod

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