Interesting earthquake in Bolivia today. When I got the announcement of a 6.2 in Bolivia I was afraid at first that there may have been a lot of damage or deaths. A 6.2 in other parts of the world has been a disaster, Turkey was not much stronger than that and Christchurch was actually less.
But there will be no damage from this quake in Bolivia but it is still interesting. While there was a damaging quake in Bolivia in 1998, this one is much deeper and in a piece of the crust that was subducted below the crust and not the crust itself. The crust under the Andes mountains may be a bit thicker than the crust under the non mountanous regions but it might be as much as 50 or 60 km think, but this quake was 533 km below the surface. At that distance there is no solid connection between the surface and the subducted crust just the gooey upper mantle which will not transfer the shaking as well as solid crust would.
What makes this interesting is what it tells us about how deep the subducted crust goes, the angle, and what types of forces the mantle is applying to subducting crust allowing us to add this to our models and increase our ability to define the forces that lead to quakes. This deep quake activity in the Andes gives us a clearer picture of the pacific’s eastern subduction zones and the possible pressures and currents of the rock in the mantle.