CHILE -- The strongest aftershock since Chile's devastating earthquake rocked the South American country Thursday as President Sebastian Pinera was sworn into office.
The 7.2-magnitude aftershock was stronger than the quake that destroyed the Haitian capital on Jan. 12.
There were no immediate reports of damages or injuries but the temblor — and at least three other aftershocks — strongly swayed buildings — shook windows and provoked nervous smiles among the dignitaries attending Pinera's inauguration at the congressional building in coastal Valparaiso.
The biggest aftershock happened along the same fault zone as Chile's magnitude-8.8 quake on Feb. 27, said geophysicist Don Blakeman at the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colorado.
"When we get quakes in the 8 range, we would expect to see maybe a couple of aftershocks in the 7 range," he said.
Blakeman said Chile now can expect to feel "aftershocks of the aftershock."
"It's not a sign of anything different happening. But what does occur when you get these large aftershocks, typically we have a whole series of aftershocks again," Blakeman said.
Bolivian President Evo Morales seemed briefly disoriented and Peru's Alan Garcia joked that it gave them "a moment to dance."
Outgoing President Michelle Bachelet arrived in an open limousine, followed by Pinera, who entered the hall of Congress to loud applause, shaking hands with politicians and dignitaries, and then swore his oath as president.
Bachelet said before the ceremony that she's leaving Chile in good shape, having already resolved a number of the country's most urgent needs in the wake of the February quake.
"I'm leaving office with sadness for the suffering of our people, but also with my head held high, satisfied with what we have accomplished," the socialist president said as she prepared to hand over the government to the first right-wing president to be elected in 52 years. (AP)