Major Earthquake

A major earthquake struck northern Chile on Wednesday, toppling power lines, closing roads and sending terrified residents into the streets. Authorities reported 20 injuries but no deaths from the quake, which was felt in the capital as well as neighboring Peru and Bolivia.

The earthquake, which struck at 12:40 p.m. local time (10:40 a.m. EST), measured magnitude 7.7 and was centered 780 miles north of Santiago, or 25 miles east-southeast of Tocopilla, the U.S. Geological Survey said. The USGS said it occurred about 37.3 miles underground.

The U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued, then canceled a tsunami warning for Chile and Peru. It said the quake generated only a 2-foot wave.

Aftershocks were felt in several cities, according to media reports from the area. Schools, hospitals and other buildings were evacuated in several cities.

Stretching along the earthquake-prone Pacific "Ring of Fire," Chile has suffered many destructive temblors. A 1939 quake killed 28,000 people and in 1960 a magnitude-9.5 quake killed 5,700 people. That remains the most powerful quake on record. On June 13, 2005, a magnitude 7.8 quake near Tarapaca in northern Chile killed 11 people and left thousands homeless.


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