Five people have died as a result of the 8.2 quake that struck Chile last night. During the confusion of the quake, roughly 300 prisoners escaped near Iquique, said Interior Minister Rodrigo Penailillo.
Last night, an 8.2 magnitude earthquake struck Chile near the coast of Northern Chile at 8:47 p.m. local time. The epicenter was nearly 60 miles northwest of Iquique, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS). The quake was 21 km deep, a relatively shallow depth. Tsunami warnings and watches had initially been issued last night for countries on the Pacific coast.
Chile's National Emergency Office had asked everyone to evacuate the coast early on. That calm evacuation may have saved many lives. Chile President Michelle Bachelet has declared a state of emergency for the region of Iquique. A full assessment will be conducted once day breaks. There were some landslides caused by the quake which in turn caused some roads to be blocked and power to be out.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center still calls for a Tsunami Advisory for Hawaii. The initial wave is expected to arrive at 3:24 a.m. HST.
“A major tsunami is not expected to strike the state of Hawaii. However sea level changes and strong currents may occur,” reads the advisory statement.
Initially warnings and watches had been issued for Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, Antarctica, Pitcairn, and the French Polynesia. They have all been cancelled.
An 8 magnitude quake is rare. According to CNN, an 8 quake only occurs on average once a year. Some years can escape one altogether.
As expected there have been numerous aftershocks. At least 20 have been above 4.0, as per the USGS.
Iquique, according to NBC News, is home to approximately 180,000 people and is close to the copper mines of Chile.
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