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Powerful quake strikes northern Chile

A powerful earthquake measuring at least 6.2 on the Richter scale rocks northern Chile, causing minor damage.

world Updated: Dec 17, 2007 19:02 IST

A powerful earthquake measuring at least 6.2 on the Richter scale has struck northern Chile, causing electric power blackouts and some minor damage but no reported injuries.

Apparently the Sunday temblor was an aftershock from the Nov 14 quake, which destroyed 80 per cent of the homes in the town of Tocopilla, located about 1,560 km north of Santiago, the Spanish news agency EFE said.

The Seismology Institute of the Universidad de Chile said that the quake occurred at 5.09 am (0809 GMT) and had its epicentre located 42 km below the earth's surface about 33 km northeast of Mejillones.

It came some 14 hours after another strong and relatively lengthy quake struck Santiago and four other Chilean regions about 3.22 pm (1822 GMT) on Saturday.

That quake lasted about a minute and had several aftershocks, mainly affecting the cities of Valparaiso and Viña del Mar.

The ONEMI National Emergency Office said that the tremor's aftershocks were light to moderate in strength.

The department said that the quake primarily affected the towns of Tocopilla, Mejillones, Sierra Gorda, Baquedano and Maria Elena.

It was also felt, though with somewhat less force, in the towns of Iquique, Antofagasta, Calama and San Pedro de Atacama, as well as in Huara, Alto Hospicio, Pozo Almonte, Pica and Tal Tal.

The US Geological Survey announced that the quake measured 6.7 on the Richter scale.

According to the Chilean navy's Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service, there was no risk of a tsunami.