Strong quake strikes Chile, tsunami alert issued

 A strong earthquake struck the center of Chile on Wednesday, local seismologists said, triggering a tsunami alert along the entire coastline and sparking panic and shaking buildings in the capital.

AFP| Updated: Sep 17, 2015, 06:48 AM IST

Santiago: A strong earthquake struck the center of Chile on Wednesday, local seismologists said, triggering a tsunami alert along the entire coastline and sparking panic and shaking buildings in the capital.

But there were no immediate reports of injury, a government emergency agency said.

Seismologists at the University of Chile put the magnitude of the quake at 7.2.

It had a shallow depth of 11 kilometers (six miles) and hit at 7:54 pm (2254 GMT), with the epicenter located about 500 kilometers north of the capital Santiago, 

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) however put the quake at a magnitude of 8.3 and said it struck just 232 kilometers from Santiago.

USGS reported two aftershocks, both above 6.0.

The quake was felt as far away as Buenos Aires, in Argentina, about 1,400 kilometers away, while a tsunami warning was in place for the whole of Chile`s coastline.

Terrified residents in Santiago poured onto the streets, an AFP reporter said.