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Magnitude 6.7 earthquake rocks Chile: USGS

Update: March, 17/2014 - 11:00

SANTIAGO – A powerful 6.7-magnitude earthquake jolted Chile's northern coast on Sunday, US geologists said, generating a small tsunami and prompting authorities to evacuate three cities.

The quake struck at 6:16 pm (2116 GMT), according to the US Geological Survey, which had originally put the magnitude at 7.0.

Located 60km west-northwest of the port city of Iquique, the quake was 20km deep, the USGS said in an update. It was followed by a series of aftershocks.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said in a bulletin that "sea level readings indicated a tsunami was generated."

Tsunami wave activity was measured at 28cm.

"It may have been destructive along coasts within 200 km of the earthquake epicenter," the centre added.

"Danger to boats and coastal structures can continue for several hours due to the rapid currents."

Chilean authorities ordered precautionary evacuations of 100,000 people in the northern coastal cities of Arica, Iquique and Antofagasta due to fears of a "minor" tsunami. The evacuation alert lasted about three hours.

"Everything worked flawlessly. Chile is a seismic country and people reacted appropriately," Undersecretary of the Interior Mahmud Aleuy told reporters.AFP


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