A strong earthquake of 6.1 grades affected some localities on the north of Chile and caused panic among the inhabitants. The local newspapers informed that a lot of people where in the shopping malls and escaped asap to open places, thinking that it was a stronger earthquake.
The shallow magnitude 6.1 earthquake occurred along the northern Chile coast at Atacama desert region at 22:23:09 UTC with epicenter 79 km (49 miles) NNW of Vallenar, Atacama, 80 km (49 miles) SW of Copiapo, Atacama and 234 km (145 miles) N of Coquimbo, Chile (27.884°S, 70.932°W) according to USGS. The depth at epicenter was 15.6 km (9.7 miles). Universidad de Chile is reporting a magnitude of 5.8 at a depth of 24.4 km. . The University of Chile did report the epicenter in the ocean (approx. 30 km in the Pacific Ocean).
The epicenter (if confirmed) is below a very sparsely populated area (USGS data). Only a few villages are located in the direct epicenter area and are at risk during this earthquake. Locations like Huasco, Copiapo and Caldera will have felt the shaking. USGS PAGER issued yellow alert for this event. (Yellow alert level for economic losses. Some damage is possible and the impact should be relatively localized. Estimated economic losses are less than 1% of GDP of Chile. Past events with this alert level have required a local or regional level response.)
The difference in epicenter location is that USGS is reporting very extreme intensity numbers : 331 people would have experienced a VIII MMI severe shaking, 925 people a very strong shaking, 4,000 people a strong shaking, 207,000 people a moderate shaking and 74,000 people a light shaking.
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