Chile Earthquake: Magnitude 6.8 Quake Jolts Central-Northern Chile

A powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake rocked central-northern Chile on Wednesday afternoon, shaking buildings as far away as the capital, Santiago, and sending panicked citizens of the country running into the streets.

According to the United States Geological Survey, the quake struck at 4:15 pm local time at a depth of 28.4 miles.

Its epicenter was 63 miles south-southwest of Copiapo, 127 miles north-northeast of Coquimbo and 368 miles north of Santiago, the USGS said.

While it was initially reported that temblor caused no injuries, a Chilean medical office later said a 50-year-old woman in the city of Copiapo died of a heart attack brought on by the quake.

Authorities also said the earthquake knocked out some power and phone lines in the region but overall, the damage was relatively modest.

“Mining companies have reported some minor rock falls on auxiliary roads … the companies’ personnel are fine and there are no structural damages to speak of,” said Copiapo’s regional mining authority Mauricio Pino.

The navy said the quake did not meet the conditions needed
to generate a tsunami off the country’s Pacific coastline.

NBC News notes that Wednesday’s quake comes nearly three years after Chile was hit by a 8.8 magnitude earthquake that killed nearly 1,000 people, destroyed 220,000 homes and cost the country $30 billion — 18 percent of its annual gross domestic product.

The strongest earthquake ever recorded also happened in Chile, a magnitude-9.5 in 1960 that killed more than 5,000 people.

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