The magnitude-8.8 earthquake that hit central Chile on Feb. 27 was among the most powerful ever recorded, killing several hundred people.

The quake destroyed buildings, bridges and roads in many areas and spawned powerful tsunami waves that wiped away entire fishing villages.

Finance Minister Felipe Larrain has estimated total damage to be in a range of $20 billion to $30 billion.

Since the initial temblor, hundreds of powerful aftershocks have rocked the Latin American country, including a 6.9-magnitude aftershock on March 11.

Aftershocks are earthquakes themselves that occur because the fault that ruptured in the original temblor is still readjusting itself. They can last for weeks to months. The bigger the quake, the larger the aftershock zone.


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