I took at quick look on Google Earth to get of a situation involving the 8.0 earthquake in Peru, and it looks bad to me. Here's the USGS description:
Magnitude 8.0 Date-Time Wednesday, August 15, 2007 at 23:40:56 UTC Wednesday, August 15, 2007 at 06:40:56 PM at epicenter Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones Location 13.358°S, 76.522°W Depth 30.2 km (18.8 miles) set by location program Region NEAR THE COAST OF CENTRAL PERU Distances 45 km (25 miles) WNW of Chincha Alta, Peru 110 km (65 miles) NW of Ica, Peru 150 km (95 miles) SSE of LIMA, Peru 200 km (125 miles) SW of Huancayo, Peru Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 5.2 km (3.2 miles); depth fixed by location program Parameters Nst=271, Nph=271, Dmin=155.4 km, Rmss=0.83 sec, Gp= 29°, M-type=moment magnitude (Mw), Version=9 Source USGS NEIC (WDCS-D) Event ID us2007gbcv
Here's a quick look at the epicenters location relative to populated areas on Google Earth (I've got NASA's earthlight layer turned on.)
The brightest nearby blog is Chincha Alta, a city of 100,000, 25 miles from the epicenter.
There are several rivers nearby (think wall of water from debris falling into the river in the nearby mountains). Also there are substatial mountainsides not far away.