Strong earthquake shakes Peru

Breitbart (Link) (July 12, 2009)

A strong earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Moment Magnitude Scale shook southern Peru early Sunday, but appears to have caused only relatively minor damage, seismologists here said.

The Geophysical Institute of Peru reported that the quake occurred a little after 0600 GMT.

The US Geological Survey said the temblor was located 59 kilometers (36 miles) northwest of the town of Juliaca, which is near Lake Titicaca on the Bolivian border.

Peru's civil defense officials said some homes were damaged in the quake and some traffic had to be rerouted in areas, but there were no immediate reports of casualties.

The quake, registered at 201 kilometers (125 miles) below the surface, was also some 230 kilometers (145 miles) southeast of the historic Inca capital Cusco, a tourist destination in the Andes mountains and jumping-off point for travelers visiting the ancient Incan fortress Machu Picchu.

The reading was based on the open-ended Moment Magnitude scale, now used by US seismologists, which measures the area of the fault that ruptured and the total energy released.

Earthquakes are common along the western ridge of South America, which is part of the Pacific seismic belt.

In 1970, a massive 7.9-magnitude earthquake and resulting landslides devastated central Peru, killing an estimated 74,000 people.