Peru Earthquake 2011 – The 2011 6.9-magnitude earthquake occurred just off the coast of Peru, not too far from the epicenter of a devastating 2007 quake that claimed 500 lives. After the original tremor Friday, at least nine aftershocks followed, reported The Associated Press.
The most significant aftershock measured a magnitude 5.5 on the Richter scale.
Most of the collapsed homes were made of adobe, or natural building materials, civil defense chief Alfredo Murgueytio said in a statement. Two churches were reported damaged and in danger of collapsing, including an 18th century cathedral in the city of Ica, the closest urban agglomeration to the epicenter.
Friday’s incident reportedly sent people running panicked into the streets when it struck at 6:54 p.m. local time.
Peru has a history of quakes, ranging from minor ones to those causing major death and significant damage. The last one that struck the area was on Aug. 24, 2011, was a 7.0-magnitude quake that hit the Amazon region, making buildings in the capital and in neighboring Brazil shake, according to Reuters. At the time, no injuries or major damage was reported, but mobile phone services were interrupted in Lima.
South America’s west coast is a segment of the circum-Pacific seismic belt, where more than two-thirds of the world’s large-magnitude earthquakes occur, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).