11 November 2012

First news of the Burma earthquake and an update on landslides from the Guatemala earthquake

Posted by Dave Petley

1. The Burma earthquake

The M = 6.8 earthquake in Burma (I refuse to use the term Myanmar) this morning occurred at a depth of less than 10 km according the USGS, which should suggest that the impact has not been insignificant.  The PAGER system calculates a 32% likelihood on 1 to 100 fatalities and a 32% likelihood of 100 to 1000 fatalities.  However, initial reports suggest losses at the bottom end of the scale, although it is early days.  The location of the epicentre, shown below, suggests that landslides might be an issue in at least a part of the area:

2. The Guatemala earthquake

Overnight more information has emerged about the impact of the Guatemala earthquake.  Interestingly, this has seen the total number of lives lost adjusted downward to 42, with just two people reported missing.  However, the loss of life from landslides has now risen to 28 with news that the largest single fatality event in the earthquake, the loss of ten lives from a single family, was due to a landslide in a quarry at San Cristóbal Cucho.  The family consisted of the parents plus six children aged 14 and under.  One additional member of the family, aged 19, survived because he was not in the quarry at the time.

This new information means that landslides are now known to have claimed 28 out of 44 likely deaths, i.e about 62%.  Of these, 25 deaths appear to have occurred in three quarry collapses.