5 dead in magnitude 8.2 quake off Chile

Updated: 2014-04-02 08:32


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5 dead in magnitude 8.2 quake off Chile

Chileans gather in the streets outside their homes after a Tsunami alarm at Talcahuano city, south of Santiago on the southern Pacific coast, April 1, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

Chile is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries. A magnitude-8.8 quake and ensuing tsunami in central Chile in 2010 killed more than 500 people, destroyed 220,000 homes, and washed away docks, riverfronts and seaside resorts.

The strongest earthquake ever recorded on Earth also happened in Chile - a magnitude-9.5 tremor in 1960 that killed more than 5,000 people.

Hundreds of earthquakes have shaken Chile's far-northern coast in the past two weeks, keeping people on edge as scientists said there was no way to tell if the unusual string of tremors was a harbinger of an impending disaster.

The unnerving activity began with a strong magnitude-6.7 quake on March 16 that caused more than 100,000 people to briefly evacuate low-lying areas, although no tsunami materialized and there was little physical damage from the shaking.