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7.9 quake hits Chile

Mountain villages were heavily damaged by the 7.9 magnitude earthquake that struck northern Chile on Monday.

BY SUSAN KIM | BALTIMORE | June 14, 2005

Mountain villages were heavily damaged by the 7.9 magnitude earthquake that struck northern Chile on Monday. The cities of Iquique and Arica were also impacted.

At least eight people were dead, according to Tuesday's government reports, but since communications were down for much of the impacted areas, the full extent of deaths and injuries was unknown. The U.S. Geological Survey reported the quake’s preliminary magnitude as 7.9, while local geologists said it was weaker.

The quake caused landslides and knocked out power. Emergency crews were responding to reports of collapsed houses.

There was no chance of a tsunami following the quake, geologists indicated. The epicenter was located in a sparsely populated area in the Andes mountains.

Iquique, a port city, is about 1,528 miles north of Santiago. Chile, an earthquake-prone country, is home to the largest recorded earthquake in the world, a 9.5 quake that struck in 1960, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

If the magnitude of this week's quake is confirmed at 7.9, it will be the world's third largest earthquake since the quake that triggered December's devastating tsunami.


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