Very heavy but probably harmless earthquake in Argentina

San Miguel de Tucuman - image courtesy Goargentina.net

UPDATE 16:28 UTC : Magnitude revised by USGS to 7.0 (from 6.9). A lot of people in Santiago del Estero haven't even felt the earthquake.

UPDATE 11:39 UTC : Local press in Tucuman and Santiago del Estero hardly mention this heavy earthquake, although it occurred in their garden. The felt reports we have received (quake-maps.com) are confirming a max. III MMI for the wide area.

The exact location of the epicenter is not that important in this kind of earthquakes.
Preliminary magnitude was originally set at 7.1, but lowered afterwards to 6.9 (EMSC).
The earthquake will be felt in a very wide area. Chile and Bolivia will certainly feel this earthquake.
Earthquake-Report.com does not expect damage or injuries because of the depth of the hypocenter.
The area of the epicenter is a farming area with numerous small villages like : 9 de Julio, La Frontera, Pozo Castano, etc
151 km (94 miles) NE (46°) from Santiago del Estero, Argentina
GDACS published a GREEN earthquake alert for this earthquake = very limited chance on damage and/or injuries (= a good sign)
Biggest city near the epicenter : Santiago del estero (pop 354,692!)
Theoretical models of the earthquake result in a maximum MMI of only III!, but as predicted by earthquake-report.com, at least 4,278,000 people will probably feel this earthquake at their breakfast table - and this just after New Years Eve.
Based on historic seismicity, today's area has never before been struck by such a heavy earthquake.
A little more to the south a huge +8 earthquake occurred in history.
The big depth originates from the Pacific plate subducting the South American plate.

Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : 6.9
UTC time : Saturday, January 01, 2011 at 09:56:57 UTC
Local time at epicenter : Saturday, January 01, 2011 at 06:56:57 AM at epicenter
Depth (Hypocenter) : 562 km (hot mantle of the earth)
Quake-maps.com satellite map + I Did Feel It form
Geo-location(s) :
Close to 9 de Julio, La Frontera, Pozo Castano
150 km (95 miles) NE of Santiago del Estero, Argentina
Approx. 120 km from San Miguel de Tucuman

Links to important maps
USGS Did You Feel It Map
Google satellite map of the area showing the kind of terrain the earthquake took place

USGS Shaking map

USGS historic earthquakes map

USGS impact on population map

USGS Seismic hazard map

LIVE SEISMOGRAM (nearest Seismograph station)
GDACS Green Earthquake Alert (Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System)

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