Buenos Aires/Washington- An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.6 struck early Sunday in southern Chile, briefly setting off a tsunami alert on the southern Pacific Coast of South America.
There were initial reports of power outages in the quake region. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre initially warned of possible waves of 1 to 3 metres above normal tides in southern Chile. The area of tsunami risk extended 1,000 kilometres from the epicentre.
Actual waves later measured in Puerto Melinka, Chile, reached only 8 centimetres above tide levels. Chilean civil defence authorities issued within two hours of the quake, following limited evacuations of low-lying coastal areas.
The quake struck at 10:20 am (1422 GMT) at the epicentre 40 kilometres south-west of Puerto Quellon, Chile, at a depth of 15 kilometres, according to the US Geological Survey.
The epicentre was more than 1,100 kilometres south-south-west of Santiago. An aftershock within 10 minutes of the main quake registered magnitude 5.2.
“Based on all available data the tsunami threat from this earthquake has now passed,” the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said about an hour after the quake.
The centre urge vigilance for “minor sea level fluctuations” in coastal areas in hours after the quake.