Isabelle here. This is my third and final de-blog for this Chile project. We’ve had some interesting, amusing, infuriating, exhilarating, exhausting and breathtaking times out here - certainly plenty of fodder for the memory bag. Science-wise, the effort in installing and maintaining the GPS and seismic instruments has already paid dividends, our involvement in the larger network allowing us access to data from other institutions as well as our own. So, among other things we have been able to locate and characterise aftershocks large and small, monitor the post-earthquake ground motion (there are other things happening besides aftershocks ….), and produce a velocity model of the subduction zone to infer its structure. These connected lines of research are all ongoing, and updates will be posted on the research pages of my website and probably also of Steve’s website as the work progresses further.
What will I miss about Chile? The spectacular scenery, the gorgeous summers, the long winding roads, the fresh fruit, the cheeky sense of humour. What will I not miss about Chile? The drivers. The drivers. The drivers. Let us say, there is a “different etiquette” of driving here in Chile compared to back home, particularly in the cities, where people apparently have no qualms about accelerating into your space, blocking your way, and generally putting you (and themselves) at risk. As explained to us over dinner last night by Matt Miller (a British seismologist now living in Concepcion), both mechanics' fees and insurance are low over here, which no doubt contributes to the rather gung-ho attitudes on the road.
I’m now in Santiago waiting for my connecting flight to Madrid. The short flight up from Concepcion offered an opportunity to view the area we’re studying for one last time. Of particular interest was the Pichilemu area on the coast in the northern part of the rupture zone - some of you may remember the Pichilemu story from last year’s blog. Two large aftershocks occurred here in close proximity (in both space and time), but nobody really seemed to know which fault(s) they occurred on. Using satellite radar imagery, I discovered the previously-unknown fault system on which these ruptures occurred. Combining the radar image with seismological and GPS data, we carried out a fully study of these aftershocks (published here). The second photo below shows a view from today’s flight looking west across to the Pichilemu area, and the inset radar image (interferogram) shows coloured contours of ground motion that occurred in the aftershocks.
The descent into Santiago was a little turbulent, probably on account of flying over the mountains that wrap around the city. I am now sat here drinking one of the wonderful “Juga Framboise” that I have fairly been living off this week. One hour down, four to go. Then to Madrid, Manchester, and finally Liverpool. Back in the office on Wednesday to start crunching the new data. Don’t forget to follow Steve’s blog - but from me, amigos, for the last time, it’s Ciao!