7.5 magnitude earthquake strikes northern Peru, damaging historic church

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A 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck northern Peru early Sunday, damaging some buildings and blocking several roads.

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While the quake was extremely strong, it was relatively deep – measured at 112 kilometers (70 mi) – which generally minimized the potential for damage and casualties.

The quake struck at 5:52 a.m. (1052 GMT) and was epicenter in the Amazon region, 42 kilometers (26 mi) northwest of the coastal city of Barranca. Its magnitude was 7.5 according to the US Geological Survey.

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Mayor Walter Calqui told Peru’s RPP radio that part of a 16th-century church in the La Jalca district of the Amazon region collapsed and three people were slightly injured.

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Falling stones blocked several highways in the Amazonas and Cajamarca regions in Peru, and tremors were felt some 800 kilometers (500 miles) away in the capital of Lima, where some people rushed out of their homes in alarm.

A church in the municipality of Loja in neighboring Ecuador was also partially damaged.

Earthquakes are common in Peru, which lies within the Pacific Ring of Fire, where 85 percent of the planet’s seismic activity occurs.

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