SANTIAGO, Chile | A strong magnitude 7 earthquake struck on Saturday evening in Antarctica near Chile’s Eduardo Frei base, which has been placed on tsunami evacuation alert, Chilean authorities said.
The earthquake was recorded at 8:36 p.m. (6:36 p.m. in Quebec) in the sea, some 210 kilometers east of this base, and 10 kilometers deep, said the National Emergency Office (Onemi), who then said asked to “abandon the coastline of the Antarctic territory”.
The Eduardo Frei base of the Chilean Air Force is located 1,230 km south of the continent on King George Island. It is the largest Chilean base in this territory. It is located in the immediate vicinity of Villa Las Estrellas, a village that includes, among other things, a hospital, a school, a bank, a small supermarket, a post office and a chapel.
The maximum population in summer is 150 people and the average population in winter is 80 people.
At the same time, at 9:07 p.m. (7:07 p.m. in Quebec), another earthquake, of magnitude 5.9, occurred 14 km from Santiago de Chile, at a depth of 122 km, unrelated to the strong earthquake in Antarctica.
The Onemi indicated that, for this earthquake that occurred in the vicinity of the Chilean capital, “no damage to people or any deterioration of basic services or infrastructure has been reported”, and that “technical organizations are assessing the regional situation ”.
Chile, one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world, suffered a powerful 8.8 magnitude earthquake in the city of Concepcion on February 27, 2010, which killed more than 500 people.
Sixty years ago, the South American country suffered the most powerful earthquake on record, with a magnitude of 9.6, in the city of Valdivia, in southern Chile.