Chile’s interior minister reported that no serious injuries or damage occurred, although five people were crushed or died from fatal heart attacks. The shaking loosened landslides, damaged an airport, and some businesses caught on fire.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey the quake, which was at a depth of 6 miles and initially rated as a magnitude-8.0, occurred at 4:47 p.m. PDT. Three strong aftershocks, magnitudes 6.2, 5.8 and 5.5, respectively, have been reported since the major quake.
USGS said that the quake is the result of a megathrust between the Nacza and South America plates near the Chilean coast.
The April 1, 2014 M8.2 earthquake in northern Chile occurred as the result of thrust faulting at shallow depths near the Chilean coast. The location and mechanism of the earthquake are consistent with slip on the primary plate boundary interface, or megathrust, between the Nazca and South America plates.
In Arica, 86 miles from the quake’s epicentre, hospitals treated minor injuries, and some houses made of adobe were destroyed. Authorities said that 90 percent of customers were without power in the city.
The quake also shook buildings in nearby Bolivia and Peru. The entire South American coast was placed on tsunami warning, but warnings were lifted except for northern Chile. Initially the North American west cost was placed on tsunami watch.