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SANTIAGO, Chile – A series of strong aftershocks from last month's devastating quake rocked Chile on Thursday as a new president was sworn into office and immediately urged coastal residents to move to higher ground in case of a tsunami.
The strongest aftershock, with a magnitude of 6.9, was nearly as strong as the quake that devastated Haiti's capital on Jan. 12. There were no immediate reports of damages or injuries.
President Sebastian Pinera was inaugurated at a congressional building in coastal Valparaiso before the building was evacuated as a precaution. The seven aftershocks strongly swayed buildings, shook windows and sent frightened Chileans streaming into the street.
The magnitude-6.9 aftershock is the strongest since the day of the Feb. 27, magnitude-8.8 quake. It occurred along the same fault line, said geophysicist Don Blakeman at the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colorado. The USGS initially estimated the aftershock's magnitude at 7.2.