Sunday, 25 March 2012
7.2 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Chile
7.1-magnitude earthquake hit central Chile on Sunday, injuring three people and prompting emergency officials to order an evacuation along parts of the coast.
There were no immediate reports of major damage.
The earthquake was at a depth of 21.6 miles (34.8 km) and struck 16 miles (27 km) north-northwest of Talca, the U.S. Geological Survey said. It had originally reported the quake was offshore and had a magnitude of 7.2.
No tsunami warning was issued and authorities initially canceled an evacuation order that had been issued for parts of the coast. They reissued that order late Sunday as a preventative measure.
Three people were injured as a result of the quake, emergency officials said. One person was in a traffic accident in the Biobio region and two people sustained light injuries when a ceiling collapsed.Many coastal residents were staying away from the shore in any case, remembering how the government said there would be no tsunami just before huge waves struck after the 2010 quake, killing 156 of the 524 victims of that disaster.
With aftershocks rattled the region, many people living inland didn't want to go back inside their homes, either.
In Parral, about 230 miles (370 kilometers) south of the capital, Mayor Israel Urrutia said a 74-year-old woman died of a heart attack during the quake, and he blamed it on the shaking.
State television reported that parts of the ceiling fell from a church in Maipu, west of Santiago, slightly injuring some parishioners. Similar problems were reported with the roof of a shopping mall in La Florida, south of the capital.
State copper giant Codelco said its mines were functioning normally.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake occurred 19 miles (30 kilometers) deep.
It was the second significant quake in as many days for central Chile, where people were shaken awake Saturday morning by a 5.1-magnitude temblor that caused no major damage or injuries even though its epicenter was in metropolitan Santiago.