Major Earthquake in Bolivia Is Felt as Far Away as Toronto

<i> From Times Staff and Wire Reports</i>

A major earthquake rumbled through northern Bolivia on Wednesday and was reportedly felt as far away as Los Angeles and Toronto, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

No injuries or serious damage were immediately reported.

The quake, which struck a relatively unpopulated area roughly 200 miles northeast of the Bolivian capital, La Paz, had a magnitude of between 7.5 and 8, officials at the Geological Survey said.

A large swath of North America was jolted by the quake.

It was felt as “a very gentle motion” in Los Angeles, said Jim Mori, head of the U.S. Geological Survey in Southern California, at a news conference in Pasadena.


Tremors were also felt in Toronto, the Minneapolis area, Sioux Falls, S.D., Omaha and Baja California.

In Sioux City, Iowa, Jane Eckerman said she felt the tremors for two to three minutes at her home.

“My daughter jumped out of her chair like someone bit her. It was so weird,” Eckerman told the Sioux City Journal.

In Chile, police said thousands of people took to the streets in panic in Arica, Iquique, Calama and other cities. Power and telephone service were knocked out in several cities.

Hundreds of people also fled buildings in La Paz, officials said.

Officials said the earthquake, which struck at 5:33 p.m. PDT, appeared to have been very deep, about 400 miles below Earth’s surface.

“The result was that people felt it all over North America, 5,000 miles away from the source,” Mori said.


He said earthquake waves travel much more efficiently from that depth, but he added, “we wouldn’t expect a lot of damage even near the source because it’s so deep.”

Mori added that the experience with such unusal earthquakes is that there are far fewer aftershocks than occur in such quakes as Northridge, which are much closer to the surface.