A powerful magnitude 8.3 earthquake hit about 60 miles northwest of Iquique, in northern Chile, tonight, triggering tsunami warnings in Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Panama and tsunami watches in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico and Honduras.
Chile was hit by an 8.8 earthquake in 2010, which caused massive amounts of damage, displaced millions and killed hundreds. Its epicenter was just 2 miles off the coast.
This earthquake appears to have been far enough away from the coast not to cause that kind of damage, (UPDATE: Reuters says there is "no serious damage to infrastructure or reports of victims") but the tsunami threat remains. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says "sea level readings indicate a tsunami was generated. It may have been destructive along coasts near the earthquake epicenter and could also be a threat to more distant coasts." Iquique has reported waves as high as 6.9 feet so far.
The earthquake initially registered as an 8.0, but that was later revised to 8.3. Seismographs are far away as Los Angeles registered the quake. It would take between 12 and 15 hours for a tsunami to reach America's west coast, according to the National Tsunami Warning Center.
Update 12:24 a.m.: Chile's Interior Ministry is reporting 5 casualties so far.
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