SANTIAGO – A magnitude-5.5 earthquake shook the regions of Coquimbo, Valparaiso and the Santiago metropolitan area in the northern and central regions of Chile on Monday, authorities said.
The temblor struck at 8:38 a.m. and its epicenter was 20 kilometers (12 miles) southwest of Illapel and some 290 kilometers (180 miles) north of Santiago in the Coquimbo region, the National Seismological Center of the University of Chile reported.
The hypocenter was 39 kilometers (24 miles) deep, the institution said, while the navy’s SHOA hydrography and oceanography service assured the nation that the quake was not of a kind that could spark a tsunami on the Chilean coastline.
Meanwhile the U.S. Geological Survey, or USGS, estimated that this was a magnitude-5.6 quake and that its hypocenter was at a depth of 39.4 kilometers (24 1/2 miles) below the earth’s surface.
The Onemi emergency management office said the temblor reached the “moderate” intensity-V rating on the international Mercalli scale, which measures the effects of a quake, in Canela (Coquimbo) and Zapallar (Valparaiso), while rattling Andacollo, Illapel, La Serena, Los Vilos and Salamanca in the Coquimbo region with a “light” intensity-IV quake.
In the Valparaiso region there was also an intensity-IV quake in La Ligua, Puchuncavi, Quillota, Rinconada, San Felipe, Viña del Mar and Valparaiso, the regional capital, while in Santiago, the nation’s capital, it was a “weak” intensity-II.
“No harm to people, interruption of basic services or damaged infrastructure have been reported as a result of this earthquake,” Onemi said.
These quakes are downscaled replicas of a magnitude-8.4 earthquake on the Richter scale that shook these regions of Chile on Sept. 16 last year and left 15 dead, 7,000 affected and around 1,000 homes destroyed.