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Massive 8.2-Magnitude Quake Triggers Tsunami Off Chile

Warnings, including evacuation orders, issued for those living along entire Latin American Pacific coast after earthquake beneath ocean's surface

- Common Dreams staff

This is a developing story... Check back for updates...

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has issued a warning that a tsunami may have been triggered off the coast of Chile Tuesday night after a massive earthquake beneath the seabed measuring 8.2 on the Richter scale.

According to Twitter:

The Chilean government has reportedly ordered evacuations all along its lengthy Pacific coast. Warnings and evacuations were also given for those living along the coasts of Ecuador and Peru, to the north.

The islands of Hawaii were also placed on the tsunami warning list by the PTWC, which stated that if a wave does reach that far its estimated earliest arrival would be just before 3:30 AM local time on Wednesday.

Readings from the U.S. Geological Survey say the quake was centered 62 miles northwest of the city of Iquique at a depth of 6.2 miles beneath the seabed. At 8:13 PM EST, the USGS tweeted:

Later revisions put the earthquake's magnitude even higher, coming in at 8.2.

Follow ongoing updates via Twitter:

 

According to the Associated Press:

A powerful magnitude-8.2 earthquake struck off Chile's northern coast Tuesday night, causing landslides and setting off a tsunami that forced an evacuation of coastal areas. There were no immediate reports of injuries or major damage, but buildings shook in nearby Peru and in Bolivia's high altitude capital of La Paz.

The U.S. Geological Survey initially reported the quake at 8.0, but later upgraded the magnitude. It said the quake struck 61 miles (99 kilometers) northwest of the Chilean city of Iquique at 8:46 p.m., hitting a region that has been rocked by numerous quakes over the past two weeks. Aftershocks followed, including a magnitude-6.2 tremor and a 5.5 quake.

Coastal residents of northern Chile evacuated calmly as waves measuring almost 2 meters (6 ½ feet) struck ahead of a tsunami that was expected to come ashore later. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued an alert for all of Latin America's Pacific coast. Chile's Emergency Office said a large tsunami wave was expected to hit Robinson Crusoe island and others in the Juan Fernandez archipelago just before midnight local time.

Chile's emergency service reported some roads blocked by landslides caused by the quake, but said no injuries had been reported so far.

An official at Peru's civil defense office said evacuations were underway on that country's coast. The official, who did not give her name, said there were no immediate reports of damage. Police officer Alejandro Rosado in a Tacna, a Peruvian town near the coast, said no damage or injuries had been reported there.

Chile is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries. A magnitude-8.8 quake and ensuing tsunami in central Chile in 2010 killed more than 500 people, destroyed 220,000 homes, and washed away docks, riverfronts and seaside resorts.

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