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Earthquake shakes Chile, no injuries reported

Earthquake hits Chinese region of Xinjiang: seismologists
Beijing (AFP) Jan 1, 2011 - A moderate quake with a magnitude of 5.2 hit the far western Chinese region of Xinjiang on Saturday, seismologists said. The quake struck just before 10:00 am (0200 GMT) at a depth of 10 kilometres (six miles) with its epicentre 68 kilometres west of Kashi, the US Geological Survey said. China's state-run news agency, Xinhua, said there were no early reports of casualties. Xinjiang is a vast mountainous region in the north-west of China, covering around a sixth of the country. Around 20 million people live there, eight million of them Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim grouping.

Northern Argentina hit by 7.0 quake
Buenos Aires (AFP) Jan 1, 2011 - A strong earthquake measuring 7.0 hit a sparsely populated region of northern Argentina early Saturday, the US government and Argentine officials said. The epicenter of the tremor, which occurred at 6:56 local time (0956 GMT), was located 160 kilometers (100 miles) northeast of the city of Santiago del Estero, according to the US Geological Survey. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage, and the quake occured at a depth of 583.6 kilometers (362.6 miles). Because the earthquake was so deep below the earth's surface, it only registered at a magnitude of around 2.0 to 3.0 degrees, seismologist Marcelo Pena from the Argentine national earthquake institute Inpres.

He said the epicenter of the quake was 40 kilometers (24 miles) from the town of Campo Gallo in northern Santiago del Estero province, a desert region which is sparsely populated with only about 5,000 residents. The reading was based on the open-ended Moment Magnitude scale, now used by US seismologists, which measures the area of the fault that ruptured and the total energy released. The same quake jolted parts of the north of neighboring Chile, particularly the town of Socaire, near San Pedro de Atacama, Chile's National Emergency Office reported. There were no immediate reports of damage, infrastructure problems or injuries, the Chilean office added.
by Staff Writers
Santiago (AFP) Jan 2, 2011
A strong earthquake shook coastal Chile Sunday, disrupting power and communications services but caused no injuries or significant damage, authorities said, as tsunami fears led residents to seek higher ground.

The US Geological Survey said the 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck at 2020 GMT 69 kilometers (45 miles) northwest of Temuco, Chile, at a depth of 16 kilometers (10 miles).

Chile's National Emergency Office said the quake was "medium intensity" and struck Biobio, Maule and O'Higgins, a region in south-central Chile that was devastated by a 8.8 magnitude quake and tsunami in February 2010.

"Fortunately we have no accidents to lament, nor loss of life, nor major damage," said President Sebastian Pinera.

"All the services functioned normally. There were some partial power outages, there were some moments when telephone lines were saturated, but all the systems functioned normally except for these bottlenecks."

The emergency response agency's director Vicente Nunez told reporters that power outages and interruptions in telephone service were common in these cases.

The earthquake set off panicky reactions, however, with people fleeing to higher ground in Puerto Saavedra and Tirua out of fear of tsunamis, according to Chilean television.

Television images showed shoppers scrambling to get out of supermarkets and shopping centers when the quake hit.

But Pinera said people displayed calm in evacuating the coastal area near the quake's epicenter.

"They reacted swiftly and in keeping with what is required in these situations," he said.

The Chilean Navy's Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service discounted the threat of a tsunami, saying the epicenter was on land and not at sea.

An initial report by the USGS said the quake occurred offshore, but it later revised its findings. US authorities also ruled out the threat of a Pacific-wide tsunami.

"Based on all available data, a destructive Pacific-wide tsunami is not expected," the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in a bulletin.

"However, earthquakes of this size sometimes generate local tsunamis that can be destructive along coasts located within a hundred kilometers (62 miles) of the earthquake epicenter," it said.

The National Emergency Office said Sunday's temblor was followed nearly two hours later by a moderate aftershock.

The earthquake was also felt in Argentina's Patagonia region, near the border with Chile, especially in San Martin de los Andes, where dozens of people ran out of the customs building fearing it might collapse, the Bariloche News Agency said.

No injuries or damage from the quake were reported in Argentina.

Chile lies on the Pacific rim of fire and is prone to violent earthquakes. Last February's massive earthquake unleashed a tsunami that swept away entire villages.

The disaster left around 520 people dead, and caused an estimated 30 billion dollars in damage.

There were differing opinions Sunday over whether the latest quake and last year's disaster were related.

"This Sunday's quake was in keeping with the country's tectonic behavior, and has no relation to the quake on Feburary 27," said Nunez of the National Emergency Office.

But Sergio Barrientos, director of the Seismological Service at the University of Chile, told Chilean television, "An 8.8 magnitude quake will generate aftershocks for several years."

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Drilling In The Holy Land
Bonn, Germany (SPX) Dec 31, 2010
About 50 miles from Bethlehem, a drilling project is determining the climate and earthquake activity of the Holy Land. Scientists from eight nations are examining the ground below the Dead Sea, by placing a borehole in this deepest basin in the world. The International Continental Scientific Drilling Program ICDP brings together research teams from Israel, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, the U ... read more

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