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Earthquake of 4.5 magnitude hits Puerto Rico amid rare seismic activity

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San Juan, Jan 03: A 4.5-magnitude earthquake hit Puerto Rico on Thursday in the latest of a rare string of quakes that has frightened many in the US territory.

The most recent quake occurred 12 kilometers south of Guayanilla at a shallow depth of seven kilometers and was felt in the capital of San Juan and elsewhere in Puerto Rico, according to the US Geological Survey. No immediate damage was reported.

Earthquake of 4.5 magnitude hits Puerto Rico amid rare seismic activity

"We haven't stopped shaking. It's the first time something like this happens," said Ángel Vázquez, emergency management director for the southern coastal town of Ponce.

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The flurry of quakes began the night of December 28, with a 4.7-magnitude quake followed by a 5.1-magnitude one that hit near Puerto Rico's south coast and sent dozens of panicked people into the streets. Goods fell off supermarket shelves, cracks in homes were reported in some coastal towns, and a large rock fell and blocked a road.

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    No injuries were reported. Since then, more than 1,100 earthquakes have occurred in that region.

    The majority have not been felt, except for the 4.2-magnitude one that hit December 31 and the one on Thursday. A similar cluster of quakes occurred last year along Puerto Rico's northwest coast following a 6.0-magnitude earthquake in late September that led to more than 1,200 quakes in that area.

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    One of the largest and most damaging earthquakes to hit Puerto Rico occurred in October 1918, when a 7.3-magnitude quake struck near the island's northwest coast, unleashing a tsunami and killing 116 people.

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