September 2015 – CHILE – A magnitude 8.3 earthquake hit off the coast of Chile on Wednesday, shaking buildings in the capital city of Santiago and generating a tsunami warning for Chile and Peru. Chile’s government urged residents to evacuate the coastline. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage. Reuters witnesses said the quake was felt as far away as the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, on the eastern seaboard of South America.
Hazardous tsunami waves from the quake were possible along the coasts of Chile and Peru within the next several hours, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said. A tsunami watch was also issued for Hawaii. If tsunami waves impact Hawaii, the estimated earliest arrival time would be 3:06 a.m. Hawaii Standard Time (0906 ET) on Thursday, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said. The quake struck at a depth of 15.5 miles (25 km), the USGS said. Less than an hour after the initial earthquake, three aftershocks all greater than magnitudes 6.1 struck the region, USGS reported. Chile’s state copper miner Codelco said workers at its Ventanas division have been evacuated. –Reuters
Quake creates panic: At least three aftershocks above magnitude-6 and other strong shakes rattled the region as tsunami alarms sounded in the port of Valparaiso in the first major quake since a powerful quake and tsunami killed hundreds in 2010 and leveled part of a southern Chilean city. Officials ordered people to evacuate low-lying areas along the 2,400 miles (3,900 kilometers) of Chile’s Pacific shore, from Puerto Aysen in the south to Arica in the north. Cars streamed inland carrying people to higher ground. There were no immediate reports of injuries, but authorities said some adobe houses collapsed in the inland city of Illapel, about 175 miles (280 kilometers) north of Santiago.
Illapel’s mayor, Denis Cortes, told a local television station that electricity was out in the city. “We are very scared. Our city panicked,” he said. The U.S. Geological Survey initially reported the quake at a preliminary magnitude of 7.9 but quickly revised the reading upward to 8.3. U.S. officials said the quake struck just offshore in the Pacific at 7:54 p.m. (6:54 p.m. EDT, 1154 GMT) and was centered about 141 miles (228 kilometers) north-northwest of Santiago. It said the quake was 4.8 miles (5 kilometers) below the surface. –News 9