March 11th, 2010
02:07 PM ET

Chile leader: 'Significant damage' in Rancagua

A USGS map shows the area where a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit in Chile Thursday.

[Updated 2:07 p.m.] Rancagua Mayor Eduardo Soto said that no fatalities were immediately reported and that the biggest worry was damage to homes, CNN Chile reported.

[Updated 1:24 p.m.] The central Chilean city of Rancagua was affected by today's earthquakes newly inaugurated president, Sebastian Pinera said Thursday.

"There is significant damage in Rancagua," the new president said. "We're going to send the necessary armed forces to guarantee citizens' safety."

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Pinera said Thursday afternoon he will declare the area a catastrophe zone.

The country's national emergency authorities also put in place a tsunami alert for the coastal area near where several earthquakes hit.

"I don't want to alarm anyone, [the alert] is solely precautionary, but we have to take precautions when there are human lives at risk," Pinera said.

[Updated 11:35 a.m.] The USGS has downgraded the magnitude of the temblors that hit Chile today - saying that a 6.9 magnitude hit, followed by 6.7 and 6.0 magnitude quakes.

Two additional aftershocks were reported: a 5.4 magnitude and a 4.9 magnitude, in the same region of Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins, Chile, near the coast.

[Updated 10:43 a.m.] Three temblors rattled Chile today - a 7.2 magnitude earthquake, followed 16 minutes later by a 6.9 magnitude quake, and then a 6.0 magnitude aftershock 11 minutes after that, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

They were the strongest aftershocks to rattle Chile since a February 27 earthquake on the country's west coast that toppled buildings and spawned a tsunami, killing several hundred people.

[Updated 10:22 a.m.] Rolando Sanchez, President of CNN Chile, says the 7.2 magnitude earthquake could be felt strongly in the newsroom in Santiago, Chile.

"It was very, very strong," he said. "It went on for a good 45 seconds."

Sanchez said the felt about four aftershocks earlier in the day, but none as intense or lasting as long as the 7.2 magnitude quake. Sanchez said some people were running and others were evacuating.

"We also have information from our crews where the inauguration is taking place that they're evacuating people around the main government building on the outside asking them to move away and move to higher ground, although the inauguration itself is continuing," Sanchez said.

[Updated 10:07 a.m.] The 7.2 magnitude earthquake shook the ground near the region of Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins, near the Chilean coast. It struck just as Chile prepared to inaugurate a new president, Sebastian Pinera.

The epicenter was about 95 miles (152 km) south-southwest of the capital, Santiago, and about 90 miles (145 km) away from Valparasio, where Pinera was to be inaugurated. Television footage showed the inauguration proceeding without a hitch.

The quake was almost 22 miles deep and centered 95 miles southwest of Santiago, according to USGS.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in a statement that "a destructive Pacific-wide tsunami is not expected" and there is no tsunami threat to Hawaii.

[Posted at 9:54 a.m.] An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.2 has struck south of Santiago, Chile, the United States Geological Survey reports.

This story is currently developing. We'll bring you the latest information from Chile as soon as we get it.

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Filed under: Earthquake
soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. Calvin

    wow there hass bwen a lot of them this year

    March 11, 2010 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  2. Davide

    Talk about getting twice. Prays go out to everyone in Chile.

    March 11, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  3. Angel

    Well, I guess this is the second warning to move away from Chile. I don't know why it's so shocking when these things occur in places like Chile or California; there's always a risk of experiencing an earthquake, and people should work towards awareness.

    March 11, 2010 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  4. Benjamin

    the depth reported here is wrong.. it is 10km depp, which is approximatley 6 miles deep..

    March 11, 2010 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  5. Jordan

    While the 17th floor of her office building was shaking from the 7.2 M earthquake, my girlfriend told me via Gchat before taking cover, "a HUGE aftershock.. students starting to shout... still moving... cell phones not available again... i'm leaving this building... not safe! ciao amor." She was at the University of Chile office building near the School of Business and Economics in Providencia. I believe she safe but I still think it is important that we consider the rest of Chile's citizens in our thoughts and prayers during this second blow to the region.

    March 11, 2010 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  6. Darunia

    No rest for the weary, huh.

    March 11, 2010 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |


    March 11, 2010 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  8. Ryan

    Wow, another quake in Chile? What is this, the second one in less than a month? This is crazy.

    March 11, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  9. TED

    Are all these earthquakes a result of what has been going on with the Hadron Collider??
    Is there any connection between them?? Just concerned when were messing with new technology, if there are any unattended side effects??

    March 11, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  10. Elson

    Well It's was very stronger and very long!

    I'm chilean guy I have experience with the earthquake but is always a new experience!!!

    I hope that everything's Ok!


    March 11, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  11. Mary

    Obviously, Planet Earth in the Chilean area has entered into a new period of mountain building. I am also wondering now if any undersea investigation has been done yet to see if there are are new undersea fumeroles, or undersea volcanoes, offshore there in the area of subduction.

    March 11, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  12. Hkitty

    what is going on in the world? 2012? this is so scary. thoughts and prayers go out to all the families in Chile.

    March 11, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  13. Chilean

    There have been 3 of them. No damages at all as a well prepared country, at this point very used to this events. Nothing to worry about.

    March 11, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  14. Mark

    When? It's happening again? or the old report?

    March 11, 2010 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  15. natalia t.

    I have spoken with family members in Santiago – and all say it felt very strong, but appears to have no structural damage – Luckily

    March 11, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
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