Massive earthquake and tsunami warning strike South America
Wed, 02 Apr 2014 02:00:08 GMT —
A powerful earthquake has struck in the Pacific off Chile's northern region, and authorities have ordered an evacuation of coastal areas in case of a tsunami.
Chilean officials say five people died when the powerful magnitude-8.2 earthquake struck.
The governor of Chile's northern Iquique area, Gonzalo Prieto, tells Radio Cooperativa that two people are confirmed dead and several others are seriously injured.
The mayor of Tarapaca attributes the deaths to heart attacks.
The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 8.2 and struck 61 miles (99 kilometers) northwest of Iquique, Chile, at 8:46 p.m. It hit in an area that has been rocked by numerous quakes over the past two weeks.
The latest tremor shook buildings in parts of the nearby nations of Bolivia and Peru.
Aftershocks of magnitude-6.2 and 5.5 happened shortly after.
U.S. officials say they've found no imminent threat of a tsunami along the coasts of Hawaii, Alaska, California, Oregon or Washington, but the danger is still under evaluation.
Paul Whitmore, the director of the National Weather Service's West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center, says the greatest potential threat from Tuesday night's quake is to Hawaii, but analysts aren't yet issuing a watch or warning.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says if tsunami waves are generated, the earliest they'd hit Hawaii is 3:24 a.m. Wednesday Hawaii Standard Time.