Massive Earthquake Rocks Chile; Tsunami Alert Issued For Hawaii

A major earthquake and associated aftershocks have hit near the Chilean capital of Santiago, which lies near a subduction zone like the Pacific Northwest.

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — A powerful earthquake shook Chile’s capital Wednesday night (about 3:54 p.m. U.S. West Coast time), causing buildings to sway and people to take refuge in the streets. Several strong aftershocks hits within minutes as tsunami alarms sounded in the port of Valparaiso and authorities issued a tsunami alert for the country’s entire coast.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported the quake had a magnitude of 8.3, upgraded from the preliminary magnitude of 7.9. Chilean authorities had recorded it as 7.2.

U.S. officials said the quake struck just offshore in the Pacific at 7:54 p.m. 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.

Chile’s emergency office warned that big waves caused by the quake could hit the coast by 11 p.m.

The Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami watch for the state of Hawaii following the earthquake, saying an investigation is underway to determine if there is a tsunami threat to Hawaii.

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