A vast area of Chile, including the capital city of Santiago, was hit by a massive blackout Sunday, just two weeks after an 8.8 magnitude earthquake killed hundreds.

The blackout affected about 80 percent of Chile's population of 17 million people, according to an AFP report. The area covered a 2000-m (1200-mile) stretch, starting in the region of Atacama, north of Santiago to Chiloe Island, south of the capital. Power went out in the capital just before 9 p.m. local time. Power had returned soon after midnight.

Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter said the blackout was due to a problem with a 500-kW transformer. He told local media that while the power outage was not directly related to the earthquake that struck Chile on Feb. 27, there would be an investigation to see whether there was an indirect cause.