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Major earthquake rocks Amazon region of Peru, next to Brazil, felt in Lima

Wednesday, August 24th 2011 - 22:56 UTC
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The epicentre was close to Pucallpa, an oil and mining area The epicentre was close to Pucallpa, an oil and mining area

A 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck a remote Amazon region of Peru on Wednesday, shaking office buildings far away in the capital and in neighbouring Brazil although no injuries or damage were reported immediately.

The quake's epicentre was near the town of Pucallpa, which lies some 600 km from Lima in a sparsely populated central-eastern region close to the Brazilian border, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.

Telephone lines were down in the area, but local media said no serious damage or injuries had yet come to light. A 5.3-magnitude aftershock was registered in the area soon after the powerful initial tremor.

“There haven't been reports of collapsed homes. There have been problems with telephone communication,” Guillermo Alvizuri, director of operations at the National Institute of Civilian Defense, told local radio.

One seismologist said the depth of the quake --145 km-- meant serious damage was less likely. Earthquake-prone Peru is a leading metals exporter, but the region near the epicentre is not a mining area.

Leading Peruvian miner Southern Copper, which is controlled by Grupo Mexico, said its operations in southern parts of the Andean nation had not been affected.

Foreign energy companies including Spain's Repsol and Brazil's Petrobras operate in the earthquake-hit region, which produces some oil. Pucallpa is also the terminus for an oil pipeline from the Ganso Azul fields.

A spokesperson for the fire department in Cruzeiro do Sul, one of the Brazilian cities closest to the epicentre, said there had been no emergency calls yet and the quake seemed unlikely to have caused major damage there.
In the coastal Peruvian capital of Lima, the quake shook some office buildings and some mobile phone services were interrupted.

Local radio bulletins said the quake caused alarm across central Peru, sending panicked students and workers rushing out of classrooms and offices.
 

Categories: Environment, Latin America.

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