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Earthquake Measuring 6

October 15, 1997

Earthquake Measuring 6.8 Rocks Santiago, Chile, Killing Eight People and Injuring More Than 100By EDUARDO GALLARDO

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) _ An earthquake that rocked much of Chile and parts of neighboring Argentina set off landslides and killed a family of five and three others when the walls of their homes collapsed. About 100 were injured, authorities reported today.

The government said several aftershocks rocked the affected area about 140 miles north of Santiago for several hours early today.

The 10 p.m. quake measured 6.8 degrees and was centered near Illapel, the Seismological Office of the University of Chile said. It said the epicenter was 20 miles underground.

The quake was felt along a 750-mile north-south stretch of Chile’s narrow territory, including this capital city of 5 million people.

Reports from Argentina said it was also felt in a large area in that country across the Andes mountains but caused no casualties or damage.

Interior Minister Carlos Figueroa said seven people were confirmed dead, including an entire family of five, in the cities of Ovalle, Coquimbo and Pueblo Nuevo. Authorities today reported the death of another person but did not provide details.

The most badly affected area was around the epicenter, where a number of old adobe houses caved in, especially in the cities of Vicuna and Illapel.

Some small villages in the northern Andes were left isolated as roads were blocked by slides.

An emergency bridge built to replace one that had been swept away in July’s storms collapsed, interrupting traffic on the Pan American Highway.

Telephone and electric power were temporarily interrupted in some of the affected areas.

The government’s National Emergency office said the situation was gradually going back to normal throughout the affected area during the night.

``After the scare, the situation is under control,″ Renan Fuentealba, governor of La Serena, capital of the affected area, told state television today.

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