By MICHAEL WARREN
Associated Press Writer
SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) - The largest aftershock since Chile's
devastating earthquake rocked the South American country Thursday
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, said
geophysicist Don Blakeman at the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden,
"When we get quakes in the 8 range, we would expect to see
maybe a couple of aftershocks in the 7 range," he said.
Blakeman said Chile now can expect to feel "aftershocks of the
"It's not a sign of anything different happening. But what does
occur when you get these large aftershocks, typically we have a
whole series of aftershocks again," Blakeman said.
The temblor rocked buildings and shook windows in the capital,
and provoked nervous smiles among dignitaries arriving for the
ceremony at the congressional building in coastal Valparaiso.
Bolivian President Evo Morales seemed briefly disoriented and
Peru's Alan Garcia joked that it gave them "a moment to dance."
Buildings emptied and streets crowded with people seeking higher
ground in coastal Constitucion, a city wiped out by the tsunami
that followed the quake. Pinera planned to visit the city shortly
after his swearing-in.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)