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Date published: 1/31/2013
SANTIAGO, Chile--A magnitude-6.8 earthquake shook offices, toppled supermarket shelves and broke windows on Wednesday in north-central Chile, where people fled some buildings in panic.
A 55-year-old woman in the city of Atacama died of a heart attack, said Mayor Rafael Prohens, who attributed her death to fear during the quake. Authorities said that damage was limited and discounted the possibility of a tsunami.
The U.S. Geological Survey originally reported the quake at magnitude-6.7, but later revised it upward. It struck at 4:15 p.m. and was centered 27 miles north of Vallenar, Chile.
The quake shook the capital of Santiago, causing office buildings to sway, but was felt most powerfully in the north where state television showed images of scattered groceries on supermarket floors and broken windows at several homes in Vallenar, Copiapo and other nearby cities.
Witnesses described people running from buildings into the streets in panic.
Vallenar Mayor Cristian Tapia said telephone lines were jammed and some electricity lines were temporarily down but services were slowly returning.
"The first half hour was really tough. We're still having problems with telecommunications," Tapia told state television. "Two walls collapsed. We're evaluating ruptures at homes to find out if they're still safe to live in."
But Chile's Emergency Office, ONEMI, said no injuries were immediately reported and damage to infrastructure appear minimal.
The oceanographic service discounted the possibility of a tsunami.