January 30, 2013 – A Powerful 6.8 Magnitude Earthquake Struck Near Vallenar, Chile: The quake struck the central region of the county at 4:15 p.m. and was centered 46 kilometers (28 miles) north of Vallenar, Chile and 101 kilometers (63 miles) SSW of Copiapo, Chile (see map).
The Chilean emergency office told Reuters that the quake did not trigger a tsunami and there were no reports of preliminary damage.
The quake shook the capital of Santiago, causing office buildings to sway, but was felt most powerfully in the north where state television showed images of scattered groceries at supermarket floors and broken windows at several homes in Vallenar, Copiapo and other nearby cities.
Witnesses described people running from buildings into the streets in panic. Telephone lines were jammed and electricity lines were temporarily down.
But Chile’s Emergency Office said no injuries have been reported and damages to infrastructure appear minimal. The oceanographic service discounted the possibility of a tsunami.
Chile is one of the earthquake-prone countries in the world.
A devastating 8.8-magnitude quake, one of the strongest recorded, and the tsunami it unleashed in 2010, killed 551 people, destroyed 220,000 homes and washed away docks, riverfronts and seaside resorts. The disaster cost Chile $30 billion, or 18 percent of its annual gross domestic product.
The Master of Disaster