UPDATE, Thursday, Sept. 17, 7 a.m.:
Officials have reported at least eight deaths attributed to Chile’s powerful magnitude-8.3 earthquake on Wednesday. More than one million people were evacuated. A tsunami warning was cancelled early Thursday. Read an update here.
Original post continues here:
SANTIAGO, Chile – A strong earthquake struck the center of Chile on Wednesday, local seismologists said, triggering a tsunami alert along the entire coastline and sparking panic and shaking buildings in the capital.
No immediate injuries were reported, a government emergency agency said.
Seismologists at the University of Chile put the magnitude of the Chile earthquake at 7.2. It had a shallow depth of 11 kilometers (six miles) and hit at 7:54 p.m. (2254 GMT), with the epicenter located about 500 kilometers north of the capital, Santiago.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) put the quake at a magnitude of 8.3 and said it struck just 232 kilometers from Santiago. USGS reported two aftershocks, both above 6.0.
The Chile earthquake was felt as far away as Buenos Aires, in Argentina, about 1,400 kilometers away, while a tsunami warning was in place for the whole of Chile’s coastline.
Terrified residents in Santiago poured onto the streets, an AFP reporter said.
In April last year, a deadly magnitude-8.2 earthquake in northern Chile killed six people and forced a million to leave their homes in the region around Iquique.
And a Feb. 27, 2010 quake that struck just off the coast of Chile’s Maule region measured 8.8 in magnitude, making it one of the largest ever recorded.
It killed more than 500 people and inflicted an estimated $30 billion in damages.