Magnitude 8.2 Quake Strikes Off Coast Of Chile; Tsunami Warning In South America
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(CBS SF) — A magnitude 8.2 earthquake struck off the coast of Chile on Tuesday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The earthquake struck around 4:47 p.m. Pacific time, about 99 kilometers west of the port city of Iquique in northern Chile. Seismologists initially reported the earthquake was magnitude 8.0.
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Iquique is about 1,100 miles north of Santiago, Chile’s capital city.
According to Chilean Interior Minister Rodrigo Penailillo, five people have died from the quake.
CBS News reported the quake was felt in neighboring Peru and in the Bolivian capital of La Paz.
The quake has triggered landslides and generated a small tsunami that forced evacuation of coastal areas. A tsunami warning was in effect for Chile and Peru Tuesday evening, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. Earlier, warnings were also issued for Ecuador, Colombia and Panama, but they have been canceled. A tsunami watch for Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and Honduras has also been canceled.
“It will also have caused a tsunami, but we’re optimistic that the tsunami will not be anywhere near as big as that huge earthquake caused in 2011,” said USGS seismologist Walter Mooney.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reported Tuesday evening that a 6.9 foot tall wave struck the coast of Iquique.
The National Tsunami Warning Center said Tuesday evening there is no threat for a tsunami for the west coast of North America, including California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and Alaska.
Officials with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said that a major tsunami is not expected to strike Hawaii, but warned swimmers, boaters and people near the shore about possible sea level changes and strong currents. The center estimated an initial tsunami wave would reach Hawaii at 3:24 a.m. local time on Wednesday.
According to an earthquake calculator on the USGS website, Tuesday’s earthquake off the Chilean coast is 1,258 times bigger on a seismograph than Friday’s magnitude 5.1 earthquake that struck the Los Angeles area.
Northern Chile has felt hundreds of quakes over the past two weeks, which started with a magnitude 6.7 quake on March 16th.