Strong quake shakes Argentina, Chile; no reports of injuries

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SANTIAGO, Chile — A powerful earthquake struck in northwestern Argentina near the border with central Chile just before midnight Monday, shaking people in parts of both countries. There were no reports of injuries or serious damage, though some power outages were reported in the quake area.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the tremor had a preliminary magnitude of 6.4. Its epicenter was 27.6 kilometres (17 miles) southwest of the Argentine town of Porcito and struck at a depth of 14 kilometres (nearly nine miles).

The quake was followed by a magnitude 5.0 aftershock about a quarter hour later and then at least five more strong aftershocks in the next hour ranging from magnitude 5.3 to 4.8, the USGS said.

Argentine media said some houses reportedly were damaged in the small down of Media Agua and at least one road was said to have been disrupted, but there were indications of injuries. Electricity also failed in spots and some goods were shaken from supermarket shelves, the reports aid..

People in the quake zone reported there was panic when the initial quake struck and said they spent anxious hours as the aftershocks brought new shaking.

Strong movement was felt in Chile's capital, Santiago, which is about 300 kilometres (186 miles) from the area hit by the quake. Chilean officials said there were no damage reported in that nation.

The Associated Press