17 Mar 2014

Powerful quake rocks northern Chile

4:00 pm on 17 March 2014

A powerful 6.7-magnitude earthquake has jolted Chile's northern coast, generating a small, local tsunami and prompting authorities to evacuate three cities.

The quake struck at 6.16pm on Sunday (local time), according to the US Geological Survey, which had originally put the magnitude at 7.0, AFP reports.

Located 60km west-northwest of the port city of Iquique, the quake was 20km deep, and followed by a series of aftershocks.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said that sea level readings indicated a small tsunami was generated locally.

Chilean authorities ordered precautionary evacuations of 100,000 people in three northern coastal cities. The alert lasted about three hours.

Chile is one of the most seismically active countries in the world, and a large earthquake had long been expected in the north of the country.