6.8 magnitude earthquake jolts northern Chile

SANTIAGO – An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.8 struck northern Chile early Wednesday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The quake struck 62 km South-southwest of San Pedro de Atacama, Chile at 0735 GMT, at a depth of 145 km (90 miles).

The epicenter, with a depth of 96.84 km, was initially determined to be at 23.2955 degrees south latitude and 68.4217 degrees west longitude.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

Chile is known as a hotspot for earthquakes, which are caused by the fast-moving Nazca tectonic plate colliding with the South American plate.

IN PICTURES: Chile’s Strongest Ever 9.5 Magnitude Quake in 1960

In May 1960, Chile experienced the most powerful earthquake recorded in the 20th century. The quake, which struck 100 miles off the Chilean coast, is generally thought to have measured 9.5 on the Richter Scale.

Many cities were severely damaged and more than 1,500 died from the earthquake and the resulting tsunami. Two million people were made homeless by the disaster.