Historical Social Research

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Lorena B. Valderrama: Seismic Forces and State Power: The Creation of the Chilean Seismological Service at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century [Abstract]

In 1906, the Valparaíso earthquake marked a breakthrough in earthquake observation in Chile. During the nineteenth century, seismic observation was mostly a matter of concern to foreign travelers and scientists. Meanwhile, after the 1906 earthquake, seismic knowledge began to have greater importance for the state. The study of all tremors in the country responded to the demand to mitigate the vulnerability of the country facing the threat of earthquakes. For this task, the government of Chile created the Seismological Service, a national network of observatories and seismic stations, but also of observers. These observers helped to produce local seismic knowledge, tracing which places in the country were most frequently exposed to earthquakes.

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