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Argentina Hit By 6.4 Earthquake

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ARGENTINA EARTHQUAKE
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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- A magnitude-6.4 earthquake struck north-central Argentina Friday, shaking things up enough to cause evacuations in the capital and be felt in much of the country's population centers. But people living near the epicenter didn't even notice it.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake hit 80 miles (130 kilometers) southeast of Santiago del Estero, a provincial capital of 250,000 people and the 12th-largest city in Argentina. Magnitude-6 earthquakes can cause severe damage, but this one was centered nearly 400 miles (600 kilometers) below the surface – so far underground that its effects were minimized.

The shaking Friday prompted people to spill out of the San Isidro courts building in Buenos Aires province, nearly 500 miles (800 kilometers) from the epicenter, and people in tall buildings said they felt their furniture shake in the northeastern city of Rosario, but it was hardly noticed in Santiago del Estero.

"There hasn't been any kind of damage or injuries here," said the city's civil defense chief, Daniel Pikaluk. "Maybe it was so deep that the aftershocks were felt more far away then close in. Here there were just a few people who said they felt a little dizzy, that's all."

The temblor also went unnoticed even closer to the epicenter.

"We didn't hear or feel a thing," said Daniel Ledesma, who owns the 32-room Hotel Avenida in Anatuya, a small town just 20 miles (30 kilometers) from the epicenter.

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