Aftershock hits off coast of Chile, no damage

SANTIAGO Tue Mar 16, 2010 6:23am EDT

Employees of a fish meal plant salvage bags of the product that survived the February 27 earthquake in Talcahuano, March 15, 2010, as work began to repair factories damaged in the disaster. REUTERS/Jose Luis Saavedra

Employees of a fish meal plant salvage bags of the product that survived the February 27 earthquake in Talcahuano, March 15, 2010, as work began to repair factories damaged in the disaster.

Credit: Reuters/Jose Luis Saavedra

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - A magnitude 6.7 aftershock struck off the coast of Chile on Monday night about 45 miles northwest of Concepcion, which was heavily damaged in an 8.8 magnitude quake on February 27, but the national emergency office said no casualties or damage to infrastructure had been reported.

The epicenter of the aftershock was 21.7 miles deep in the Pacific Ocean, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

"The characteristics of this quake do not merit a tsunami (alert). The situation is normal," said Vicente Nunez, the head of the national emergency office, known by its acronym ONEMI, adding that there were no reports of casualties or damage to infrastructure.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said historical data indicated the aftershock would not generate a tsunami but advised authorities in much of the Pacific region to be aware of the possibility.

The devastating quake and ensuing tsunamis late last month killed about 500 people and tore up roads and towns. It caused an estimated $30 billion in damage to infrastructure, homes and industry, the government said last week.

(Reporting by Antonio de la Jara; Writing by Eduardo Garcia)

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