12 Feb 2011

Two big quakes shake central Chile

3:02 pm on 12 February 2011

Central Chile has been rattled by two large earthquakes - one of magnitude 6.8 followed several hours later by one of 6.3.

The quake, felt across a wide area, shook the region where a massive 8.8 quake and tsunami a year ago killed about 500 people.

The government says there are no reports of any damage or injuries for the moment and no risk of a tsunami. Some residents, however, evacuated coastal areas as a precaution.

The director of the National Emergency Office, Vicente Nunez, says people "reacted with concern" because it's nearly the first anniversary (27 February) of last year's tsunami.

The United States Geological Survey says the first quake occurred in the Pacific about 70 kilometres from the city of Concepcion.

Buildings in the capital, Santiago, 435 kilometres north of Concepcion, were shaken.

The second quake was also centred off the Pacific coast.