Read my account of yesterday's earthquake here.
Central Chile's older buildings took quite a beating in the earthquake that struck early yesterday morning. A lot of older structures were built with materials, like adobe, that don't always hold up so well to shaking ground. It saddens me to know that so many of the historic Santiago neighborhoods I love may never be the same again.
I live in an old house that suffered some damage: large cracks in the walls, a burst water pipe, fallen ribbing and a small chunk of the facade missing. All of the damage occurred in the older part of the house, where the walls are made of brick reinforced with mud and straw. The back part of the house, built later with more modern materials, suffered not a single crack (although a few more paint chips fell from a preexisting one).
My conclusion is that whoever built this house all those years ago did a good job. It's been through at least two other strong earthquakes and is in a lot better shape than some of the toppling or cracked new apartment buildings I've seen on the news. I guess mud and straw can be stronger than one might think.
Below are some photos of the damage to my house.
A number of the columns holding up the grape trellis in the patio cracked during the earthquake. My roommate, his girlfriend and I were standing a few feet away from this one.
Below are two photos of the room that suffered the heaviest damage during the earthquake. Luckily, no one was sleeping there at the time.