Six dead as 8.2M earthquake hits Chile

A fire burns at a restaurant after an earthquake in Iquique, Chile (Beta/AP)

Six dead as 8.2M earthquake hits Chile

CHILE -- Six persons have been confirmed dead as a consequence of a strong earthquake that hit northern Chile on April 1.

According to the USGS, the 8.2 magnitude quake occurred at the depth of 20.1 kilometers. Its epicenter was 83 kilometers northwest of the town of Iquique.

The seismic disturbance triggered landslides that blocked some roads, and left thousands of people in the area without electricity, damaging one airport, and causing fires in several buildings.

A 2-meter tsunami hit the shore 45-minutes after the earthquake without causing any major damage, and tsunami warnings remained in place for Peru, Chile, and Hawaii.

The USGS explained on its website that the earthquake occurred as a result of "thrust faulting at shallow depths" near the Chilean coast.

Geologists said that the features of the event were consistent with "megathrust" - slip on the primary plate boundary interface - between the Nazca and South America plates, where Nazca plate subducts eastward beneath the South America plate.

This results in uplift of the Andes mountain range, "and has produced some of the largest earthquakes in the world, including the 2010 8.8 magnitude Maule earthquake in central Chile, and the largest earthquake on record, the 1960 9.5 magnitude earthquake in southern Chile," said the USGS.

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