Strong earthquake hits off southern Peru, felt in Chile

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A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.4 has struck just off the coast of southern Peru, seismologists and residents say. No tsunami warnings have been issued but tremors were felt as far away as northern Chile.

The earthquake, which struck at 9:05 p.m. local time on Monday, was centered about 220 kilometers (137 miles) west of Arequipa, the capital of the region that carries the same name. It struck at a depth of about 44 kilometers (27 miles).

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) put the preliminary magnitude of Monday’s earthquake at 6.4, making it a fairly strong earthquake. Seismological agencies in Peru and Chile put the estimate slightly lower, at 6.3.

Residents along the coast reported feeling the earthquake, but there was no immediate word on damage or casualties. No tsunami warnings have been issued.

Peru is on the so-called ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’, an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Basin that is prone to frequent and large earthquakes. Nine people were killed in August 2016 when a 5.5-magnitude earthquake struck the same region as on Monday but further inland.

And in August 2007, at least 514 people were killed and more than 1,000 others were injured when a massive 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck the central coast of Peru, generating a small tsunami which flooded some areas. Large parts of Ica were devastated by the earthquake.

Peru’s most catastrophic earthquake on record happened in May 1970 when a powerful 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck about 36 kilometers (22 miles) off the coast of northwestern Peru, killing at least 66,794 people. More than 50,000 others were injured in the disaster.

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