Chile rocked by Christmas earthquake

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Roads and bridges suffer serious damage after powerful 7.6-magnitude earthquake. Source: China Daily

A strong earthquake measuring 7.6 on richter scale hit southern part of Chile on Christmas day, causing tons of people to clear seaside towns, but no casualties or severe damage were reported in the touristy and fish farming zones.

Residents felt powerful tremors in their homes and were taken aback by the loud sounds. The earthquake made thousands of residents put off their Christmas festival plans, causing them to take shelter, in a safe place after a possible tsunami warning was issued.

The evacuation order was revoked three hours after the quake hit Chile by Chile’s National Emergency Office (ONEMI). ONEMI also told people that they could go back to their homes. “It was the biggest scare of our lives,” said Denisse Alvarado, an inhabitant of the southern Chile fishing town of Quellon, situated on Chiloe Island, a tourist place.

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ONEMI said that a bridge located in that area was blocked and some of the roads were closed as the team worked to reinstate electricity to some thousands of homes that were left without power. Chile’s Navy reported that the earthquake triggered a Tsunami warning but now they have downgraded it.

“It’s great news that as of now, we don’t have to mourn any deaths as a result of the earthquake in the south,” Chilean President Michelle Bachelet tweeted. “Our goal is to reestablish normalcy in the affected communities.” The western side of South America including the Andes Mountains in Argentina and the city of Bariloche also experienced the earthquake but no extensive damage has been reported so far.

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”The quake was relatively shallow, at a depth of about 34.6 km (21.5 miles),” the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) claimed. This area of Chile also experienced the most powerful earthquake ever of magnitude 9.5 in 1960.

Many major earthquakes in the world have taken place in Chile but because of its rigid construction standards predominantly invented to withstand earthquakes, the damage caused is very limited.