A magnitude-6.9 earthquake struck southern Peru on Friday roughly 178 miles south-southeast of the country’s capital, Lima, rattling residents in cities still recovering from a quake that killed close to 600 people in 2007.
While Peruvian officials said they had no immediate reports of damage of casualties, people who had lost loved ones and homes in the 2007 quake were badly shaken and some broke into tears, according to a report by local radio and news provider, RPP.
“It felt like the one in 2007 because it was very strong,” Felix Sihuas told RPP radio. He said he was buried under rubble for six hours in the Aug. 15, 2007, quake, which killed 596 people and largely destroyed the town of Pisco.
Friday’s temblor, which was centred 31 miles south-southwest of the coastal city of Ica, at a depth of 21.7 miles, was considerably less violent in Lima, a city of 8.5 million people. The capital shook for about 30 seconds in a series of moderate, swaying movements.
Several aftershocks followed with magnitudes up to 5.5, said the U.S. Geological Survey.
Peru is vulnerable to potentially devastating earthquakes. South America’s west coast is a segment of the circum-Pacific seismic belt, where more than two-thirds of the world’s large-magnitude earthquakes occur, according to the USGS.
The temblors date back to the 16th century, with the first deadly one in Arequipa, in which 30 people were killed, recorded in 1553, the USGS says.
The most dangerous earthquake in Peru’s history occurred in 1970, when a 7.9-magnitude quake in Chimbote took the lives of an estimated 50,000 people.