Strong 6.5 earthquake rumbles off Chile coast

A strong 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of central Chile late Monday but does not appear to have generated a major tsunami, according to US monitors.

The quake sent tremors through the Chilean capital Santiago, sparking concern and causing power outages, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage, according to witnesses and local authorities.

The National Emergency Office (Onemi) ordered the precautionary evacuation of coastal areas from the northern town of Coquimbo to the southern region of Maule, but the navy said the earthquake was unlikely to cause a tsunami.

The US Geological Survey said the earthquake struck at 11:50 pm (0350 GMT Tuesday) some 48 kilometers (30 miles) from Valparaiso, Chile at a depth of 25.9 kilometers (16.1 miles).

The US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, based in Hawaii, said there was no threat of a "destructive, widespread tsunami."
"However, earthquakes of this size sometimes generate local tsunamis that can be destructive along coasts located within 100 kilometers (60 miles) of the earthquake epicenter," it said in a statement.

A massive earthquake off Chile on February 27, 2010 generated devastating tsunami waves, killing more than 500 people and causing billions of dollars in damage.

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