A magnitude-7.1 earthquake shook central Chile, two years after the region was devastated by another tremor and tsunami, the U.S. Geological Survey in Washington said.
There were no immediate reports of major damage although Sunday’s quake disrupted the area’s telephone service.
Thousands of people left coastal areas for higher ground for fear of a tsunami and chose to remain there after authorities lifted a tsunami warning after the 2010 disaster destroyed thousands of homes.
“I want to call upon citizens to be calm,” Vice-President Rodrigo Hinzpeter said. “It was a major quake, but it’s over.” The power supply was cut off in a large area while some towns experienced an interruption in their water supplies. Roofs were also damaged.
“We had a complete collapse of telephone lines and text messages,” said Carlos Gonzalez, Mayor of Lebu.
The U.S. agency initially put the magnitude of the tremor at 7.2 while Chilean authorities measured it at 6.8.
The quake’s epicentre was in the Maule region of Chile, 27 kilometres north-west of Talca and about 220 kilometres south-west of the capital, Santiago.
The quake was also felt in Santiago. Thousands of football fans left the stands of Monumental Stadium in a rush during the Colo Colo-Palestino match of the Chilean championship. On the pitch, however, players reportedly did not feel the quake, and the match went on undisturbed.
Keywords: Chile earthquake