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Offshore quake causes panic, no tsunami in Chile

By Eva Vergara

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 08:47 a.m. HST, Jan 23, 2012

SANTIAGO, Chile >> A magnitude-6.2 earthquake struck Monday just off the shore of south-central Chile, the same area devastated by a massive temblor two years ago. But there were no immediate reports of damage and authorities said it would not cause a tsunami.

Monday’s quake was centered 31 miles (50 kilometers) northwest of Concepcion, and relatively shallow at 12 miles (20 kilometers) deep. But Chile’s navy announced that it wasn’t the kind of quake to generate a deadly tsunami of the kind that ravaged nearby coastal cities when an magnitude-8.8 quake devastated Chile in 2010.

The U.S. Geological Service said this quake struck at 1:04 p.m. local time (6:04 a.m. Hawaii time) with a magnitude of 6.2. Chilean seismologists measured it as a less-powerful 5.8.

Chile’s national emergency office said there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Cellphone service was briefly interrupted as people tried to reach loved ones, and radio stations and social networks lit up with comments, including many who said the shaking made them panic. Light fixtures swayed in many homes, but the power remained on.

The much-stronger quake that struck on Feb. 27, 2010, killed 524 and caused 31 disappearances, wrecking 220,000 homes and leaving $30 billion in damage. The disaster agency and the navy shared the blame for a botched tsunami warning then that gave some coastal dwellers a false sense of security.

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