An 8.0 magnitude earthquake has struck offshore Northern Chile

A major earthquake of magnitude 8.0 struck off the coast of Chile on Tuesday, triggering a tsunami that hit the northern part of the country and a tsunami warning for all of South and Central America’s Pacific coast.

Chilean TV shows lots of people in the streets but no panic. You can watch live here: http://www.24horas.cl/

A major earthquake of magnitude 8.0 struck off the coast of Chile on Tuesday, triggering a tsunami that hit the northern part of the country and a tsunami warning for all of South and Central America’s Pacific coast.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was very shallow, only 6.2 miles below the seabed, and struck at 6:46 p.m. local time (2346 GMT) 62 miles northwest of the mining port of Iquique, near the Peruvian border.

The Chilean navy said the first tsunami wave had hit the coast within 45 minutes of the quake.

“An earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines near the epicenter within minutes and more distant coastlines within hours,” the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

Meanwhile, the Guardian’s John Franklin confirmed that waves generated by a tsunami had already hit. 

“First waves hitting northern coast around eight feet high. Fears that next round of waves could be worse. Evacuation order for huge swaths of Northern Chile to be in effect throughout the night. Traffic jams as citizens ignore pleas to evacuate on foot.”

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