Published On: Thu, Sep 17th, 2015

Tsunami warning sounded from Hawai to New Zealand as 8.3 tremor jolts Chile

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A magnitude-8.3 quake that struck off the coast of Chile Wednesday night was powerful enough that authorities 9,600 kilometers (6,000 miles) away in New Zealand have warned residents that a tsunami could hit parts of the country. The 8.3 magnitude tremor shook buildings in cities around Chile, forcing the authorities to evacuate residents along the 2,690-mile coast after tsunami warnings were issued. At least three people were reported killed.

The quake hit at 7:54 p.m. west of Illapel, about 177 miles north of the capital, Santiago, and was felt in São Paulo, Brazil, more than 2,100 miles away. The tremor was so strong that people on the other side of the continent, in Argentina’s Buenos Aires, reported feeling it.

Four aftershocks above magnitude 6 and other strong shakes rattled the region after the first major tremor since a powerful quake and tsunami killed hundreds in 2010 and leveled part of the city of Concepcion in south-central Chile.

US officials said the quake struck just offshore in the Pacific at 7:54 pm CLT (5:24 pm IST) and was centered about 141 miles (228 kilometers) north-northwest of Santiago. It said the quake was 7.4 miles (12 kilometers) below the surface. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami watch for Hawaii, saying that if the quake did generate a strong tsunami the surge would arrive about 3 am local time Thursday.

A magnitude-8.8 quake and ensuing tsunami in south-central Chile in 2010 killed more than 500 people, destroyed 220,000 homes, and washed away docks, riverfronts and seaside resorts. That quake released so much energy, it actually it shortened the Earth’s day by a fraction of a second by changing the planet’s rotation.

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