A powerful earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale jolted Chile causing material damage, although there were no reports of any injuries or casualties, officials said. According to the University of Chile’s National Seismological Centre, the quake struck on Monday evening at 6.38 p.m., and its epicentre was located 72 km west of Valparaiso, an area in which there have been more than 100 minor temblors since Sunday evening, Efe news reported.
The quake prompted authorities to order an evacuation of the coastal zones of Valparaiso and O’Higgins provinces. Sixteen minutes after that evacuation order was issued, authorities cancelled it and allowed the people who had begun moving to higher ground to return to their homes.
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The quake was felt from the Coquimbo region, in the north, to Biobio, in the south. Some 34 cities in the country’s central region were affected by the quake. The Carabineros, Chile’s militarized police, reported that mudslides and landslides had occurred along the international highway leading to the Argentine city of Mendoza, where the quake was also strongly felt, and similar incidents occurred along the Las Palmas roadway near Valparaiso.