7.2 Quake Shakes Chile Inauguration

Largest aftershock of Chile quake rattled buildings, dignitaries
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 11, 2010 9:39 AM CST
Chile's President-elect Sebastian Pinera, right, accompanied by his wife Cecilia Morel, waves to the media prior to his inauguration in Vina del Mar, Thursday, March 11, 2010.   (AP Photo/ Max Montecinos)
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(Newser) – The largest aftershock since Chile's massive earthquake rocked the country today minutes before the inauguration of President Sebastian Pinera. The 7.2-magnitude aftershock was stronger than the Jan. 12 quake that devastated the Haitian capital. It happened along the same fault zone as Chile's magnitude-8.8 quake on Feb. 27, says a geophysicist for the US Geological Survey, adding that Chile now can expect to feel "aftershocks of the aftershock."

The tremblor shook buildings in the capital, rattled windows and provoked nervous smiles among dignitaries arriving for today's ceremony in coastal Valparaiso. Bolivian President Evo Morales seemed briefly disoriented. Peru's Alan Garcia joked that it gave them "a moment to dance." Pinera, a Harvard-trained economist and airline executive with little patience for bureaucracy, had been planning a stripped-down ceremony consisting mostly of a brief lunch with the foreign dignitaries. Then he had been planning to visit tsunami survivors in the coastal town of Constitution.

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