6.9 quake strikes off Chile coast near capital Santiago

 6.9 quake strikes off Chile coast near capital Santiago
A powerful 6.9 magnitude earthquake has struck off central Chile, some 35 kilometers west of the coastal city of Valparaiso.

The Chilean National Seismological Center says the earthquake registered 6.9 points on the Richter scale. The quake struck at a depth of 10.0 km, according to the US Geological Survey, which earlier measured the tremor at 7.1 magnitude.

Following the earthquake which struck at 6:38 pm local time, the National Emergency Office (Onemi) stopped short of ordering a precautionary evacuation along the coastal regions of Valparaiso and O'Higgins, saying the quake does not “meet the conditions necessary to generate a tsunami on the coast of Chile.”

The head of Onemi, Ricardo Toro, described the earthquake as a "medium intensity" event, stressing that the Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service of the Chilean Navy (SHOA) ruled out any possibility of a tsunami.

According to the Mercalli intensity scale used for measuring the strength of an earthquake, greater jolts was felt between the regions of Coquimbo and Biobio, Onemi announced. Some of the regions registered a potency of VII points meaning that the power released by the quake could result in damage to the buildings.

The strong quake shook buildings in the capital Santiago, according to witnesses, who however, reported no immediate casualties or damages.