This Sunday at 4:18 am, a magnitude-6.8 earthquake shook Peru’s southern coast, in Arequipa, leading to several deaths, wounded and missing people as a result.
The earthquake was produced 36 kilometers deep in the Pacific Ocean, and 26 kilometers away from the Peruvian town Lomas, according to the U.S. Geological Service (USGS), who checked twice the magnitude of the telluric movement.
The magnitude of this earthquake, 6.8, is considered to be “very strong” according to the Mercalli scale. Two aftershocks of magnitudes 3.8 and 3.7, respectively, have been registered as well.
The North of Chile also felt the earthquake, specifically in the regions of Arica and Parinacota, that are close to the Peruvian border, and to less extent in the Tarapacá region.
Even if there have been no reported damages so far in Chile, the Onemi (National Office for Emergencies in Chile) has warned about a possible tsunami that could hit the Chilean coasts. The quake “gathers all of the necessary conditions to produce a tsunami”, the Navy states. Nevertheless, the Marina de Guerra del Perú (Peru’s Navy) has confirmed that no tsunami alert will be activated.
Also, the Peruvian Government announced this Sunday a state of emergency for the affected areas in Arequipa to guarantee a faster and better assistance to the people and to reestablish the damaged services.
This event took place just days before Pope Francis will begin his tour in Peru this January 18.
It will be the first visit of a pontiff to the country in 30 years and he will continue on to Chile on the 21st.