On Sunday, May 31 at 4:23, a huge earthquake shook the ground in Peru. This undersea earthquake, that lasted 45 seconds, was the worst catastrophic natural disaster ever recorded in the history of Peru. It also caused the world’s deadliest avalanche, although no tsunami was reported. The epicenter of the earthquake was located 35 km off the coast of Casma and Chimbote. The earthquake had a magnitude of 7.9 to 8.0 on the Richter scale. The quake destabilized the northern wall of Mount Huscarán, causing a rock, ice and snow avalanche and burying the towns of Yungay and Ranrahirca. This Earthquake is often referred to as the Ancash Earthquake. It was caused when the continental block of South America moved westward. The property damage was valued at $530 million and nearly a million people were left homeless. The most fatalities were caused by collapsing buildings, and the landslide of debris was traveling at 200 miles per hour. Tremor could be felt in Lima, 400 miles away. The landslide destroyed whole villages, like in Yunga where only some 350 people survived, including the few who were able to climb to the town’s elevated step-like cemetery. Among the survivors were 300 children, who had been taken to the circus at the local stadium, set on higher ground and on the outskirts of the town. Today, Yungay is a national cemetery, and the Huascarán’s victims are still vividly remembered, as is the horrifying earthquake that took their lives.

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