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Strong Quake Rocks Chile; No Casualties

March 06, 1987|From Times Wire Services

ANTOFOGASTA, Chile — A strong earthquake shook northern Chile early Thursday, shattering windows, triggering small landslides and briefly cutting off electric power and phone service.

The government said no injuries were reported from the 40-second temblor at 6:17 a.m.

The quake sent many residents into the streets of Antofogasta, a coastal city 850 miles north of the capital of Santiago.

Mario Pardo, head of the seismological institute of the University of Chile in Santiago, said the earthquake measured more than 7 on the Richter scale. Its epicenter was located far underground about 60 miles south of Antofogasta, in an uninhabited desert region.

Richter readings of 5.5 were recorded in Antofogasta and in Calama and Chuquicamata, about 100 miles to the northeast.

Landslides Reported

Chuquicamata is the site of the world's largest open-pit copper mine. Several minor landslides occurred at the government-run mine, but operations were not affected, officials said.

"People were very scared because it kept shaking for at least a minute, but very little was broken," one witness said.

In Antofogasta, the tremor briefly knocked out electric and telephone service. The quake also broke windows and collapsed a wall in a theater that had been under demolition.

"No personal injuries have been reported, only minor damage such as broken windows, the collapse of cornices in old buildings and minor damage in some private residences," said a communique issued by the national emergency office.

The quake was felt as far away as La Serena, a city on the coast 500 miles south of Antofogasta.

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