Two earthquakes of 7 and 5.9 degrees of magnitude on the Richter scale shook this Saturday, with just 30 minutes apart, Antarctica and central Chile, respectively, and the Chilean authorities asked to evacuate the coastal areas of the frozen continent due to the risk of tsnunami.
The National Emergency Office (Onemi) explained that the first earthquake took place around 20:36 local time (23:36 GMT), 210 kilometers east of the Eduardo Frei Base, which supports all kinds of scientific research and from where 80 people were evacuated.
As well 40 people were withdrawn from the Bernardo O’Higgins Base, managed by the Chilean Navy, as well as personnel from other nearby foreign bases, and so far no damage has been recorded.
After the earthquake, Chilean citizens received an alert message on their mobile phones asking to evacuate all beaches due to the risk of a tsunami and there were several scenes of panic recorded throughout the country, which is in the middle of the summer season, with thousands of people on vacation in the coastal areas.
Local channels broadcast images of entire families fleeing the beaches and climbing the hills and of citizens crowding into gas stations to fill up the car tanks.
The Onemi later clarified that the alert was about a scan error and that the evacuation referred only to the Antarctic territory.
“Attention. We reiterate that no evacuation has been declared for the coastline at the national level, only for the beach area of the Antarctic territory “, insisted the institution dependent on the Ministry of the Interior in its Twitter account.
Only thirty minutes after the earthquake in Antarctica, a new earthquake measuring 5.9 degrees magnitude and 122.4 kilometers deep, occurred at 9:07 p.m. local time (00:07 GMT), 14 kilometers east of Farellones, in the central area of the Andes mountain range.
The earthquake, which It did not cause damage or victims, it was felt with special intensity in Santiago, where hundreds of people abandoned their homes, also confused by the wrong emergency message.
Since colonial times, Chile, of 19 million inhabitants, has had at least 80 earthquakes, which in the last 60 years alone have caused more than 40,730 deaths.
Located in the so-called Cordón de Fuego del Pacífico, Chile is considered one of the most seismic countries on the planet and suffered its last major earthquake in February 2010, which was 8.8 degrees of magnitude and caused more than 525 deaths.
(With information from EFE)
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