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Powerful quake rocks Chile year after disaster

Californians can download earthquake maps
San Francisco (UPI) Feb 11, 2011 - Property owners in California can use their computers to find whether their homes or business are in an area declared an earthquake hazard zone, officials say.

Under California law, state geologists are required to produce maps of regions where known seismic faults are likely to generate hazards from shaking, landslides or liquefaction, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Friday.

The law prohibits properties within officially declared seismic hazard zones from being sold or developed until they have undergone a geologic investigation by a licensed geologist and the sale is approved by city or county officials.

The mapping program by the California Geological Survey is ongoing, but many of the completed maps can be downloaded, officials say.

The maps, available at quake.ca.gov, can be searched by street address or ZIP code.

Strong 6.1-magnitude quake strikes off Tonga
Wellington (AFP) Feb 13, 2011 - A strong 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck under the sea some 55 kilometres (34 miles) from the capital of Tonga Sunday, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said, but no tsunami warning was issued.

The quake hit northwest of the South Pacific archipelago's capital Nuku'Alofa at a depth of 81 kilometres (50 miles), some 290 kilometres (180 miles) from its second largest town of Neiafu.

There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties from the quake at 06.57am local time on Sunday (1757 GMT Saturday).

Tonga, almost 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) northeast of New Zealand, lies on the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire", where continental plates collide causing frequent volcanic and seismic activity.

Nine people died in Tonga in an earthquake-triggered tsunami in October 2009 that also killed 143 people in Samoa.

by Staff Writers
Santiago (AFP) Feb 11, 2011
A powerful earthquake struck Friday off the coast of Chile, throwing a scare into residents nearly a year after a massive temblor and tsunami wreaked death and destruction in the same region.

The strong quake was followed within hours by several aftershocks and two more big temblors with magnitudes of 5.9 and 6.1 in the same area, the US Geological Survey said.

There were no initial reports of casualties or damage, but media reports said the first quake was felt in a wide area of central Chile, where some residents evacuated coastal areas as a precaution.

The US Geological Survey and Chile's National Emergency Office (ONEMI) said the quake occurred in the Pacific some 70 kilometers (45 kilometers) from the city of Concepcion.

The USGS initially reported a major 7.0 magnitude, and later revised that to 6.8, which can still cause devastation.

The quake struck at 2005 GMT near a region in central Chile that was heavily damaged by an 8.8 magnitude earthquake and tsunami on February 27, 2010.

The epicenter of the second quake, which occurred at 2339 GMT, was about 55 kilometers (34 miles) southwest of Concepcion. The USGS initially said it had a magnitude of 6.3 but later revised it to 5.9

At 0117 GMT, the USGS recorded a 6.1 magnitude quake 18 kilometers (11 miles) south of Concepcion.

After the first quake, Rodrigo Ubilla, an Interior ministry official, said there were no casualties or damage to buildings reported and praised the "exemplary" reaction of the population, saying the people showed "maturity" after last year's catastrophe.

Last year's disaster led to more than 500 deaths and $30 billion dollars in damage, and led to an inquiry over the lack of a timely tsunami warning.

ONEMI director Vicente Nunez said "people reacted with concern," because the incident occurred near the anniversary date of the tsunami, and urged people to return to their homes.

President Sebastian Pinera visited the ONEMI headquarters to review the situation. He called for calm, and said there had been "no reports of significant damage or loss of life."

"Chile has learned its lesson after the earthquake of February 27. We are better prepared, but will always require the cooperation of the public," Pinera said.

Earlier this week, he said reconstruction from the devastation last year would extend until 2014, with many schools, roads and hospitals still needing repairs.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said after the 6.8 temblor that "a destructive Pacific-wide tsunami is not expected," from this quake but that earthquakes of this size "sometimes generate local tsunamis that can be destructive along coasts" within a 100 kilometers of the epicenter.

"Authorities in the region of the epicenter should be aware of this possibility and take appropriate action," it said.

Chilean seismologists said it was not usual to see aftershocks from a quake as large as the one last year, even a year later.




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6.4-magnitude quake rocks India-Myanmar border
Guwahati, India (AFP) Feb 4, 2011
A strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake rocked the India-Myanmar border region on Friday causing panic, but there were no immediate reports of any damage or casualties. The US Geological Survey said the evening quake struck at a depth of 88 kilometres (55 miles), with its epicentre in a remote, sparsely populated region 85 kilometres east of Imphal in the northeastern Indian state of Manipur. ... read more

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