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Chile rattled by tremors a year after massive quake

world Updated: Feb 15, 2011 08:52 IST

Three earthquakes struck central Chile early on Sunday, US monitors said, two days after a powerful tremor rattled residents in the quake prone country. The latest quakes were magnitude 6.0, 5.8 and 5.6, and located some 95 kilometers (60 miles) west of Chillan in the Bio-Bio region.

The largest occurred at a depth of 13.3 kilometers (8.3 miles), the US Geological Survey said.

There were no immediate reports of damage. The first quake -- of magnitude 5.8 -- shook the earth at 5:52 am (0852 GMT), followed by the larger one at 7:35 (1035 GMT) and the magnitude 5.6 at 10:45 (1345 GMT), according to the USGS.

The readings were based on the open ended Moment Magnitude scale, now used by US seismologists, which measures the area of the fault that ruptured and the total energy released.

Sunday's quakes were among a series of at least two dozen aftershocks following Friday's powerful magnitude 6.8 quake which struck the same region, though no casualties or damage were reported.

The area is still reeling from a massive 8.8 quake and accompanying tsunami that wreaked death and destruction a year ago. Last year's disaster led to more than 500 deaths and $30 billion in damage, and prompted an inquiry over the lack of a timely tsunami warning.

President Sebastian Pinera has said that reconstruction from the devastation would extend until 2014, with many schools, roads and hospitals still needing repairs.

Chilean seismologists have warned that it is not usual to see aftershocks from a quake as large as the one last year, even a year later.