While the earthquake that Lima, Peru is overdue for might be massive, the serious problem that will arise if (or when) it hits is that the city is gravely unprepared to take a hit like that. With a lot of its residents still living in adobe houses and relatively unregulated building codes, an earthquake there is a huge disaster just waiting to happen.
The earthquake all but flattened colonial Lima, the shaking so violent that people tossed to the ground couldn't get back up. Minutes later, a 50-foot wall of Pacific Ocean crashed into the adjacent port of Callao, killing all but 200 of its 5,000 inhabitants.
Plenty of earthquakes have shaken Peru's capital in the 266 years since that fateful night of Oct. 28, 1746, though none with anything near the violence.
The relatively long "seismic silence" means that Lima, set astride one of the most volatile ruptures in the Earth's crust, is increasingly at risk of being hammered by a one-two, quake-tsunami punch as calamitous as what devastated Japan last year and traumatized Santiago, Chile
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