8.3-Magnitude Quake Strikes off the Coast of Chile
By: Kim Strong, Xiro Xone News September 16, 2015
A 8.3-magnitude earthquake has struck off Chile’s coast on Wednesday and was followed by multiple strong aftershocks.
The first quake’s epicenter was about 34 miles west of the inland town of Illapel, about 130 miles north of Chile’s capital, Santiago, the U.S. Geological Center said. It occurred around 3:54 p.m. PT and had a depth of 15.5 miles.
It was initially reported as a magnitude-7.9 quake, but that was upgraded to 8.3, according to USGS.
There were reports of damages to homes in Illapel, Interior Minister Jorge Burgos told reporters.
The initial quake was followed at 3:59 p.m., by a magnitude-6.3 quake 44 miles west Illapel.
About 20 minutes later, a magnitude-6.4 earthquake struck. That temblor’s epicenter was below land, about 16 miles west of Illapel.
USGS indicated there were multiple other aftershocks as well.
Chile’s national emergency agency issued a tsunami warning, ordering evacuations in coastal areas from Arica to Puerto Aysen.
Hazardous tsunami waves were forecast for some coasts, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center announced. Waves up to nearly 10 feet about the tide line were possible in Chile, the center said.
Other areas with Pacific-facing coasts could see waves of more than 3 feet about the tide line, including Mexico, Russia, New Zealand, Hawaii and many other Pacific islands.
A tsunami advisory was also issued for the California coast from San Onofre State Beach in Orange County to Ragged Point in San Luis Obispo County.
The advisory refers to a tsunami capable of producing strong currents or waves considered dangerous to swimmers, boaters or coastal property.
A tsunami watch was in effect for the state of Hawaii, and investigation was underway to determine the threat there.
Chile sits on an arc of volcanoes and fault lines circling the Pacific Ocean known as the “Ring of Fire.” The area experiences frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.