Magnitude 6.8 quake shakes Chile, no serious damage

SANTIAGO Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:03am IST

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SANTIAGO (Reuters) - A strong magnitude 6.8 earthquake hit central-northern Chile on Wednesday, shaking buildings as far away as the capital, Santiago, but there were no reports of serious damage or injuries, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and local officials said.

The quake, initially reported as a magnitude 6.7, struck at a depth of 28.4 miles (45.7 km), 63 miles (101 km) southwest of mining town Copiapo and 364 miles (585 km) north of capital Santiago at 5:15 p.m. (2015 GMT), the USGS said.

It hit well south of vast mines in the world No.1 copper producer and Chile's emergency office said there were no preliminary reports of significant damage.

The navy said the quake did not meet the conditions needed to generate a tsunami off the country's Pacific coastline.

Nearly three years ago, a massive 8.8-magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami ravaged central-southern Chile, killing hundreds of people and causing billions of dollars worth of damage.

The mayor of Vallenar, a town close to the epicenter, told CNN Chile some walls had collapsed in lower-income areas with poorer quality buildings.

Television showed images of minor damage to homes such as broken windows and bottles of cooking oil thrown from their shelves in a local supermarket.

(Reporting by Santiago newsroom and Sandra Maler in Washington; Writing by Alexandra Ulmer and Anthony Esposito; Editing by Jim Loney)

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