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Seismologist: global quake occurrence higher, but within normal scope

BEIJING (Xinhua) - A Chinese seismological expert said Saturday that the occurrence of earthquakes above 8.0 magnitude across the globe has noticeably increased in this century, but still "within the normal scope".

A magnitude-8.8 quake struck Chile on Saturday afternoon (Beijing Time), killing at least 214 people till now.

Zhang Xiaodong, deputy director of China Earthquake Networks Center, said the earthquake in Chile took place in the plate margin of the Pacific and South America, an area more likely subject to strong quakes.

The 8.3-magnitude quake and 8.9-magnitude quake trembled the South American country in 1939 and 1960 respectively.

Some panic netizens linked the frequented strong earthquakes striking China's Wenchuan on May 12, 2008, and Haiti on Jan. 12 to the Doomsday Day as depicted by Hollywood disaster film "2012" screened in 2009.

"The seismic motions as a part of global tectonics could become active during certain periods and abated in others. They are quite understandable phenomena," Zhang said.

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"The global seismicity level in the century was basically equal to that in the first half of the 20th century," Zhang said.

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