7.1-magntiude quake strikes off coast of Chile

Photo: 123rf

A strong 7.1-magnitude earthquake has struck off the west coast of Chile, but was not expected to cause a tsunami.

The quake, which Reuters witnesses said shook buildings in the capital, was centered 32 km west of the coastal city of Valparaiso at a depth of 10km below the seabed. The the U.S. Geological Survey initially assessed the temblor as a magnitude 6.6, before revising the magntidue upwards.

It was followed soon afterwards by two aftershocks – measuring 5.0 and 5.4 – which hit in the same region.

Chilean authorities initially ordered a preventative evacuation of the coastal area near Valparaiso, in case of a tsunami, but canceled it shortly afterward.

The Chilean Navy and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the quake was not expected to cause a tsunami.

The initial assessment by Chile’s emergency services was that the quake appeared to have caused no immediate damage.

A magnitude 7.1 quake is considered major and is capable of causing widespread and heavy damage, but the effects of this one would have been tempered because it was offshore /radionz