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Earthquake of magnitude 6.5 strikes northern Chile

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An earthquake of magnitude 6.5 and at a depth of 44 km struck northern Chile on Friday, the GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences said.

Chile’s National Emergency Office said it had detected no immediate harm to people, basic services or infrastructure. Its technical team was monitoring the situation.

The quake epicentre was midway between the cities of Calama, Antofagasta and Iquique in the Norte Grande region of Chile that encompasses some of the country’s biggest mines, including Chile’s state-owned miner Codelco’s Chuquicamata and Vancouver-based Teck Resources’s Quebrada Blanca.

The Chilean navy’s Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service (SHOA) said the conditions had not been met to generate a tsunami.

Chile is the world’s largest copper producer and most of its large operations are in Antofagasta region, about 88 km (54 miles) north-north east of the quake’s epicenter, according to the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC). Mine facilities and other infrastructure in Chile are built to withstand large quakes.

Footage shared on social media from security cameras and local residents showed intense shaking for at least a minute.

Monitoring networks reported several smaller aftershocks following the first quake.

The quake is one of a significant number to hit northern Chile in the past 11 days, starting with one of 6.8 whose epicenter was near the port city of Huasco, midway between regional capital La Serena and Copiapo on September 1. Another earthquake of 6.2 struck Coquimbo, slightly further south, on Saturday.

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