Massive earthquake hits Chilean capital city

A massive 8.8-magnitude earthquake, capable of tremendous damage, struck southern Chile early today, shaking buildings in the capital, where some buildings collapsed.

A tsunami warning was issued.

The quake hit 197 miles southwest of the capital, Santiago, and at a depth of 36.9 miles at 3.34am (06.34am Irish time), the US Geological Survey reported.

Its epicentre was just 75 miles from Concepcion, Chile's second-largest city, where more than 200,000 people live along the Bio-Bio river, and 60 miles from the ski town of Chillan, a gateway to Andean ski resorts that was destroyed in a 1939 earthquake.

Buildings shook and collapsed in Santiago. Phone lines were down in the country, making confirmation of damage difficult, especially further south toward the epicentre. The quake was felt in Argentina as well.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued a warning for Chile and Peru, and a less-urgent tsunami watch for Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and Antarctica.

"An earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines near the epicentre within minutes and more distant coastlines within hours," the centre said.

The US West Coast Tsunami Warning centre said it did not expect a tsunami along the west of the US or Canada but was continuing to monitor the situation.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said: "Sea level readings indicate a tsunami was generated. It may have been destructive along coasts near the earthquake epicentre and could also be a threat to more distant coasts," the centre said.

The largest earthquake ever recorded struck Chile on May 22 1960. The magnitude-9.5 quake killed 1,655 people and left two million homeless.

The tsunami that it caused killed people in Hawaii, Japan and the Philippines and caused damage to the west coast of the US.


More in this Section

Tropical Storm Fay makes landfall in New JerseyTropical Storm Fay makes landfall in New Jersey

Actress Naya Rivera may have been incapacitated before she drowned, police sayActress Naya Rivera may have been incapacitated before she drowned, police say

Amazon says email to employees banning TikTok was a mistakeAmazon says email to employees banning TikTok was a mistake

Ghislaine Maxwell seeks jail release in Epstein abuse caseGhislaine Maxwell seeks jail release in Epstein abuse case


Lifestyle

Naomi Campbell model tells Michael Odell why she’s inspired by Black Lives Matter and the young people taking action against racial injusticeModel behaviour - Naomi Campbell at 50

Eve Kelliher explores temples of Zoom to get verdict on relocation from boardroom to spare roomWhat we've learned from world's biggest remote working experiment

As those of us who love to have friends round are tentatively sending out invitations, we’re also trying to find a workable balance with necessary social distancing rules, writes Carol O’CallaghanTable manners: How to entertain at home post-lockdown

Helen O’Callaghan says asthma sufferers need to watch pollen levelsBreathe easy: Pollen tracker protects asthma sufferers

More From The Irish Examiner