A huge tremor has struck southern Chile on Christmas Day, forcing thousands of people to evacuate their homes in coastal regions. Thankfully, no deaths have been reported as a result of the 7.6 magnitude quake and a tsunami warning put in place earlier in the day has now been lifted.
Officials had feared there could be large waves in coastal areas within 620 miles of the epicenter of the tremor, which was close to Puerto Montt. Small ports along the coastline were closed amid fears of a tsunami.
The earthquake was so large, it was even felt in Argentina on the other side of the Andes. However, witnesses say there has been no major structural damage. Alamiro Vero, who owns the Cabanas Hotel in Quellon said while there had been a lot of movement, no buildings had collapsed.
However, another witness said there was damage to roads and a bridge in some of Chile’s tourist areas. Even though the tsunami warning has been listed, a tsunami watch is still in placeand residents in the Los Lagos area are still being asked to stay away from beaches and to seek higher ground. It is understood that 4,000 people have so far left the area.
The depth of the earthquake, according to the US Geological Survey, was just over 21 miles. The area is renowned for its tourism and fishing industries and the fishing and agriculture firm Empresas AquaChile SA said it had evacuated its staff to make sure they were safe. There are also a number of other salmon producers in the area.
Chile is renowed at the biggest producer of copper across the globe, but the quake is not expected to have an impact on production as there are no major mines in the affected area. Meanwhile, the oil refinery run by ENP in southern Chile is operating as usual, as it the airport at Puero Montt.