Ma­jor earth­quake rat­tles Chile, trig­gers Pa­cific tsunami alert

Toronto Star - - NEWS - LUIS AN­DRES HENAO

SAN­TI­AGO, CHILE — A pow­er­ful mag­ni­tude-8.3 earth­quake hit off Chile’s north­ern coast Wed­nes­day night, caus­ing build­ings to sway in San­ti­ago and bring­ing flood­ing from small tsunami waves in some shore towns.

Of­fi­cials re­ported three deaths. There were no re­ports of se­ri­ous dam­age hours af­ter the quake, but of­fi­cials were still check­ing the re­gion late into the night.

Author­i­ties had is­sued a tsunami alert for Chile’s en­tire Pa­cific coast, and the tremor was so strong that peo­ple on the other side of the con­ti­nent, in Buenos Aires, Ar­gentina, re­ported feel­ing it.

Nu­mer­ous strong af­ter­shocks, in­clud­ing one mea­sur­ing 7.0 mag­ni­tude and three above 6, rat­tled the re­gion af­ter the first ma­jor tremor since a pow­er­ful quake and tsunami killed hun­dreds in 2010 and lev­elled part of the city of Con­cep­cion in south-cen­tral Chile.

"Once again we must con­front a pow­er­ful blow from na­ture," Pres­i­dent Michelle Bachelet said, ad­dress­ing the na­tion late Wed­nes­day.

Bachelet said three peo­ple had been killed in the quake but gave no de­tails. She urged peo­ple who had been evac­u­ated from coastal ar­eas to stay on high ground un­til author­i­ties could fully eval­u­ate the sit­u­a­tion early Thurs­day.

Late Wed­nes­day, author­i­ties lifted the tsunami warn­ing for Chile’s far south­ern re­gions. The warn­ings re­mained in ef­fect ev­ery­where else, and author­i­ties said school classes would be can­celled in most of the coun­try Thurs­day.

The U.S. Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey ini­tially re­ported the quake at a pre­lim­i­nary mag­ni­tude of 7.9 but quickly re­vised the read­ing up­ward to 8.3. Chilean author­i­ties put the mag­ni­tude at 8.4.

U.S. of­fi­cials said the quake struck just off­shore in the Pa­cific at and was cen­tred about 230 kilo­me­tres north­north­west of San­ti­ago, 12 kilo­me­tres be­low the sur­face.

The Pa­cific Tsunami Warn­ing Cen­ter ini­tially is­sued a tsunami watch for Hawaii, but later down­graded its ad­vi­sory and said no ma­jor tsunami was ex­pected.

A mag­ni­tude-8.8 quake and en­su­ing tsunami in south-cen­tral Chile in 2010 killed more than 500 peo­ple and de­stroyed 220,000 homes.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.