Strong 7.8 magnitude quake hits off northern Chile: USGS

The aftermath of an earthquake that hit the northern port of Iquique, Chile, on April 2, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
The aftermath of an earthquake that hit the northern port of Iquique, Chile, on April 2, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

(REUTERS) - A strong 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck off northern Chile late on Wednesday, the US Geological Survey said.

The quake, the largest of a series of aftershocks following a powerful and deadly 8.2 magnitude quake that hit a day earlier, was located 12 miles (19 km) south of the port of Iquique at a relatively shallow depth of 12.4 miles (20 km), the USGS said. It was earlier reported as a 7.4 magnitude quake.

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

Chile's emergency office said it ordered a preventative evacuation of the coastal area.

There were no immediate reports of injury or damage.

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