8.8-magnitude quake hits Chile

2010-02-27 09:06

A powerful 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck the Pacific Ocean off

the coast of central Chile early today and US authorities warned it could

generate a tsunami.

The epicenter of the tremor, which hit at 3:34 am, was 100 kilometers north northwest of the Chilean town of

Chillan, the US Geological Survey said.

The Chilean capital of Santiago is 325 kilometers

southwest of the epicenter.

The quake was at a depth of 35 kilometers, the survey

said in its latest bulletin.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage. The survey had initially put the magnitude of the tremor at 8.5 but

later adjusted it to 8.8. The location of the epicenter was also slightly


The US Pacific Tsunami warning center issued a tsunami warning for

Chile and Peru, and a tsunami watch for Ecuador, Colombia, Antarctica, Panama

and Costa Rica.

It said it was not yet known if a tsunami had been caused but “an

earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that

can strike coastlines within hours.”

The center warned authorities to take “appropriate action“. The quake magnitude reading is based on the open-ended Moment

Magnitude scale which is used by US seismologists and measures the area of the

fault that ruptured and the total energy released.

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