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Magnitude 7 offshore quake shakes Peru; no deaths

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FRANK BAJAK | September 25, 2013 08:13 PM EST | AP

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LIMA, Peru — An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 centered off Peru's sparsely populated southwestern coast shook much of the nation Wednesday but only minor damage and light injuries were reported.

The shaking broke windows and opened fissures in the walls of some adobe dwellings in the nearest sizeable town, Acari, Mayor Carlos Mejia told the TV station Canal N. He reported no injuries in the mining town of about 4,000 residents.

Sand shaken loose by the quake partially blocked a 1-mile (2-kilometer) section of the Pan-American Highway, said officer Luis Miguel Vizcarra of the highway patrol in the nearby town of Chala.

The Arequipa region's civil defense director, Miguel Alayza, told The Associated Press after nightfall that reports of artisanal miners killed or missing were incorrect.

"There are no deaths and there are no missing," he said. "There are injuries, but they are all minor."

Alayza said by phone that dozens of structures across the region did suffer damage. "This a poor region with a lot of bad construction," he said.

The quake was felt mildly in Lima, 310 miles (500 kilometers) away, and caused swaying in Arequipa, about 170 miles away (300 kilometers). A tsunami warning was not issued.

"Most people felt it, not everyone," Jose Vasquez, deputy director of civil defense in Arequipa, said right after the quake. "It lasted a little bit. It wasn't a big shake, just a release, like the movement of a hammock."

The quake's epicenter was 28 miles (46 kilometers) south of Acari and it hit at 11:42 a.m. local time (1642 GMT) at a depth of 27 miles (46 kilometers), the U.S. Geological Survey said.