Earthquake in Chile triggers landslide

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Seismic Hazard map of the quake. Star indicates epicenter.

At least 3 people have been killed and 7 others are missing after a 6.2 magnitude earthquake set off landslides in a fjord in Southern Chile, creating massive waves that swept people off the beach to sea. According to the United States Geological Survey or USGS, the epicenter was located 55 kilometers [35 miles] northwest of Coihaique, Chile in the village of Aisen and had a depth of 27 kilometers [16.8 miles] and the quake occurred at 17:53 (UTC) on Saturday.

Initial reports from Chile's government said that there were no signs of deaths, injuries or damage.

Later, it emerged that at least 10 people on a nearby beach were swept away by the 25-foot waves. The waves were not a tsunami wave, according to volcanologist Juan Cayupi, but were created by the debris of the landslide falling into the waters in the narrow fjord.

Rescuers have recovered only three bodies. According to the Chilean Emergency Bureau, the bodies have been identified as; Ernesto Contreras, 65, Elsa Poblete, 54, his wife and Genaro Linay, 2, their grandson.

No tsunami warning was issued following the earthquake.

Several boats were damaged by the waves generated by the landslide, but there was no report of structural damage to any buildings.