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::Weather Wars:: 7.2-Magnitude Quake Hits Chile

Santiago, Chile (CNN) — A 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck Chile on Thursday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

The earthquake shook the ground near Libertador General Bernardo O’Higgins near the Chilean coast. It struck at 11:39 a.m. local time (9:39 a.m. ET) as Chile prepared to inaugurate a new president, Sebastian Pinera.

Hundreds of people were killed when a magnitude-8.8 earthquake struck Chile’s west coast February 27. That quake also triggered a tsunami that toppled buildings, especially in the coastal Maule region.

The epicenter of Thursday’s quake was about 95 miles (152 km) south-southwest of the capital, Santiago, and about 90 miles (145 km) from Valparaiso, where Pinera was to be inaugurated. Television footage showed the inauguration proceeding without a hitch.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said that “a destructive Pacific-wide tsunami is not expected” and that there is no tsunami threat to Hawaii.

However, the center also said that “earthquakes of this size sometimes generate local tsunamis that can be destructive along coasts located within” about 62 miles (100 km) of the epicenter.

Authorities this week released the names of 279 people whose bodies had been identified in the February quake, but officials said the new tally does not include hundreds of unidentified victims.

The February 27 earthquake was violent enough to move the Chilean city of Concepcion at least 10 feet to the west and Santiago about 11 inches to the west-southwest, researchers said.




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