Magnitude 6.7 Quake Strikes Chile, No Tsunami Threat: USGS

By Reuters
Reuters
Reuters
January 19, 2019 Updated: January 20, 2019

A magnitude 6.7 earthquake hit the coast of north-central Chile late Saturday, Jan. 19, the U.S. Geological Survey said, and witnesses said it rattled buildings farther south in the capital city of Santiago but left only minor damage in its wake.

Video shared with Reuters showed a family attempting evacuation has the house in Coquimbo shook during a moment of tremor.

Earthquake 6.7 Chile
People outside their houses are seen along a street after an earthquake in Coquimbo, Chile Jan. 19, 2019. (Reuters/Alejandro Pizarro)

The quake struck at 10:32 p.m. local time (0132 GMT Sunday) about 15.6 km (9.7 miles) south-southwest of Coquimbo, the USGS said.

The quake was 53 km (33 miles) below the surface, a relatively shallow tremor that shook homes and had some worried about a possible tsunami.

Earthquake 6.7 in Coquimbo Chile
Cars evacuate away from the coast after an earthquake in Coquimbo, Chile on Jan. 19, 2019. (Reuters/Alejandro Pizarro)

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, however, quickly discarded a tsunami threat following the tremor.

A Reuters witness reported minor damage to older buildings and power outages in the nearby coastal city of La Serena, a popular beach town about 400 kilometers (250 miles) north of Santiago.

Chile Earthquake 6.7
People outside their houses are seen along a street after an earthquake in Coquimbo, Chile on Jan. 19, 2019. (Reuters/Alejandro Pizarro)

“It felt very strong…the tourists were very nervous, but nothing serious happened,” Camila Castillo, a receptionist at a hotel in La Serena, told Reuters.

Chilean miner Antofagasta Plc said operations were normal at its Los Pelambres copper mine following the nearby earthquake.

6.9 Chile Earthquake
People outside their houses are seen along a street after an earthquake in Coquimbo, Chile on Jan. 19, 2019.(Reuters/Alejandro Pizarro)

Chile, located on the so-called “Pacific Ring of Fire,” has a long history of deadly quakes, including an 8.8 magnitude quake in 2010 off the south-central coast, which also triggered a tsunami that devastated coastal towns.

But death and destruction are limited by strict construction codes especially designed to withstand earthquakes.

By Manuel Farias in La Serena, Dave Sherwood, and Fabian Cambero

Reuters
Reuters