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7.2-magnitude earthquake hits Peru, injuring at least 9 people

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A bus damaged by a rockslide and an injured passenger

A powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake has struck the coast of southern Peru, causing some damage and injuring at least nine people, local officials say. A tsunami warning was issued but later canceled.

The earthquake, which struck at 12:36 a.m. local time on Friday, was centered just offshore near Acarí, a small town in the Arequipa region about 313 miles (505 kilometers) southeast of the capital Lima.

The U.S. Geological Survey put the earthquake’s magnitude at 7.2, up from an earlier estimate of 7.0. It struck about 17 miles (26 kilometers) below the surface, making it a relatively shallow earthquake.

Tremors from the earthquake were felt across large parts of Peru and as far away as Chile and Bolivia, according to residents. Many people said they were woken up by the shaking.

“It felt strong in Ica. It shook long and hard,” a resident in the city told EMSC.

The extent of the damage was not immediately clear but officials said some damage and a number of rockslides were being reported. At least 9 people were injured, including 6 in Ica and 1 in Ocoña where a bus was hit by rocks.

Peru’s government also issued a tsunami warning which was canceled just before 5 a.m. with no reports of flooding. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, whose website failed during the event, said only small waves were observed.

“There is no longer a tsunami threat from this earthquake,” the warning center said in a bulletin. “Remain observant and exercise normal caution near the sea. Otherwise, no action is required.”

Peru is on the so-called ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’, an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Ocean which are prone to frequent and large earthquakes, though it has been relatively quiet in recent years.

Peru’s most catastrophic earthquake happened in May 1970, when a 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck off the northwestern coast, killing nearly 67,000 people. More than 50,000 others were injured.

The epicenter of the earthquake (Credit: Google)

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