LIMA, Peru — The U.S. Geological Survey says a strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.5 has struck in northern Peru.
The earthquake took place at 5:52 a.m. Sunday local time (1052 GMT). While it was extremely strong, it was relatively deep, — measured at 112 kilometers — which usually reduces damage and casualties.
The epicenter was 42 kilometers (26 miles) north northwest of the coastal city of Barranca.
A 14-meter tower in a protected four-century-old church collapsed shortly after the 7.5-degree quake recorded Sunday in northern Peru, according to local media and witnesses accounts.
Video and photos posted online showed the historic tower, part of a 16th-century complex that was considered the oldest Catholic temple in the Amazonas region, reduced to a pile of stones, although the main atrium appeared to be still standing.
Social media posts also showed damage in other locations, including in a church in southern Ecuador. The quake was also felt in Colombia.
The Defense Ministry’s National Civil Defense Institute in Peru didn’t immediately report damages or injuries by the quake.
Earthquakes are common in Peru, which falls within the Pacific Ring of Fire where 85% of the planet’s seismic activity takes place.