Chile Earthquake 2013: M-4.5 Tremor Hits Near Iquique, Strong Aftershocks Expected [REPORT]

By Philip Ross on June 18, 2013 2:50 PM EDT

chile earthquake
A Chile earthquake struck earlier today near Iquique, a port city in northern Chile. Chile is one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world. Pictured, schoolchildren in Valparaiso, on the Pacific coast, take shelter under their desks during a simulated M-9.0 earthquake disaster. The largest earthquake ever recorded worldwide occurred just 372 miles south of here in 1960. (Photo: Reuters)

A Chile earthquake struck the northern area of the country earlier today. The tremor, a magnitude 4.5, hit near Iquique, a port city on the Pacific Ocean in northern Chile, around 10:10 Tuesday morning.

Even though it's considered a moderate quake, today's Chile earthquake could still cause strong aftershocks. While usually less violent than the initial quake, secondary shockwaves can do additional damage to weakened structures and can happen within a few hours of the tremor or even months after the earthquake, according to ready.gov.

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The magnitude of an earthquake refers to the amount of energy released at the source of the earthquake. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the intensity of the quake is what seismologists use to describe the strength of the shaking produced by the earthquake at a particular location. The effects on people, infrastructure and the environment all play a role in determining an earthquake's intensity.

CNN reports that last month, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake shook the coast of southern Chile. The quake was centered about 388 miles west of Puerto Aisen, a city in southern Chile. Luckily, there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

According to AP, Chile is one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world. The massive and devastating magnitude 8.8 Chile earthquake and tsunami that struck in 2010 killed more than 500 people and decimated over 200,000 homes. The violent shaking lasted for three minutes, and was felt in six Chilean regions. AP reports that the 2010 Chile earthquake was so strong, it changed the planet's rotation, shortening Earth's day slightly.

Chile also boasts the strongest ever recorded earthquake, the M-9.5 that hit in 1960.

Read more from iScience Times:

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Hawaii Earthquake: 5.3 Quake Strikes 'Big Island' Just Days After One Rattled Taiwan Causing Tsunami Fears [REPORT]

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