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New earthquake in Chile prompts tsunami alerts

People heading towards a higher zone

By Anthony Esposito and Rosalba O’Brien

A powerful 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck off northern Chile late on Wednesday, prompting tsunami alerts and evacuations along the coast and in neighboring Peru.

It was the strongest of several aftershocks that followed a huge 8.2-magnitude quake blamed for six deaths in the region on Tuesday.

There were no initial reports of serious damage but President Michelle Bachelet, who had gone to the area to inspect the damage from the earlier quake, was evacuated from her hotel in the city of Arica, local media reported.

The new quake was located 12 miles (19 km) south of the port town of Iquique at a relatively shallow depth of 12.4 miles (20 km), the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said that while there was no widespread tsunami threat, the latest tremor could generate a local tsunami.

The bigger earthquake on Tuesday triggered a tsunami with 2-meter (7-foot) waves and officials said it caused six deaths but no major damage.

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