Two earthquakes hit Chile; no major damage - GulfToday

Two earthquakes hit Chile; no major damage


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Gulf Today Report

Two almost simultaneous earthquakes were felt on Saturday in the South Shetland Islands in the Antarctica and in central Chile, with authorities issuing a tsunami warning for Chile's Eduardo Frei base on the frigid continent, emergency officials said.

The quake in the South Shetland Islands had a magnitude of 6.9 with a depth of 9.6 kilometres, according to the US Geological Survey, while the earthquake in Chile had a magnitude of 5.8.

The quake struck at 8:36 pm (2336 GMT) about 210 kilometres (130 miles) east of the base at a depth of 10 kilometres (6 miles), Chile's National Emergency Office (Onemi) said, urging evacuation from "the beach area of the Antarctic" ahead of a possible tsunami.


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"As of this moment, there are no reports of damages to people or infrastructure or of alterations to basic services because of this earthquake," said Chile's national emergency center Onemi.

Chile’s Interior Ministry said on Twitter the South Shetland Islands quake was 216 kilometers northeast of the country's O’Higgins scientific base, and called for coastal regions in the Antarctica to be evacuated because of a tsunami risk.

Almost simultaneously a 5.8 magnitude quake swayed buildings in central Chile, including in the capital of Santiago. The quake had a depth of 110 kilometers.

The Chilean Air Force's base is the country's largest in Antarctica, and includes a village, hospital, school, bank, post office and chapel.

The maximum population in summer is 150 people, and the average population in winter is 80.

An unrelated 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck near Santiago on Saturday night, but Onemi said no significant damage or impact was reported.

Chile is one of the most seismically active countries in the world. A 8.8-magniture temblor in the city of Concepcion on February 27, 2010 left more than 500 dead.

The country suffered the most powerful earthquake ever recorded 60 years ago -- measuring 9.6 magnitude -- in the city of Valdivia.

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