UK & World News
Town In Chile Struck By 170 Earthquakes
More than 170 tremors have been felt in the coastal town of Navidad in quake-prone Chile in just five weeks.
The strongest - of 5.9 magnitude - struck during a funeral and sent panicked mourners fleeing into the street.
The town, with a population of 5,500, has become one of the shakiest spots on Earth.
Seismologists cannot say whether the recent quakes have been aftershocks from Chile's devastating 8.8 magnitude earthquake two years ago - or warnings of another huge disaster to come.
The town's residents, though, have learned to take the quakes in their stride.
Navidad means Christmas in Spanish - and with the festive season in full swing Navidenos have been taking extra precautions to ensure the celebrations pass as smoothly as possible.
Families have taken to decorating their Christmas trees with quakes in mind, wiring ornaments to the branches or taking extra efforts to secure the base.
Some restaurant owners have even switched from bottled beer to cans.
Children at public schools have been practicing drills every day and everyone has been equipped with a 'quake bag' comprising flashlights and food.
"We were born, grew up and were raised with earthquakes," acting Mayor Rodrigo Soto said.
"It seems like the world for the first time has discovered Navidad. Everyone asks us if we're scared and all we can say is that we need to be prepared."
The town has an inadequate tsunami alert system - a siren that sounds like a car alarm and lacks the volume needed to reach all the townspeople. But after so many tremors, he said Navidenos know in their bones when to run.
"People are afraid because in the past weeks it shook so much," said 18-year-old waitress Karen Contreras.
"It's still trembling, but at least people know where to evacuate if it's strong," she added.
The February 2010 quake hit central Chile, killing hundreds of people and wrecking 220,000 homes.
The country suffered 150 strong aftershocks in the immediate days following the disaster, and it was also reported that the initial tremor was so powerful, it may have shifted the Earth's axis and made days slightly shorter.
No-one was killed by the huge quake in Navidad, but some 200 homes were lost or severely damaged, and most households had no power or water for a month.