Strong 7.6-Magnitude Aftershock Jolts Chile

By Mark Leberfinger, Staff Writer
April 5, 2014; 4:28 AM ET
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The location of the earthquake, (Image/USGS)

Chile and nearby countries are still shaking Wednesday night as aftershocks continue to jolt the region.

The most recent and strongest aftershock yet struck at 7:43 p.m. PDT, 23 km. (14 mi.) south of Iquique, Chile.

Initially, the earthquake was measured as 7.8 magnitude on the Richter Scale, but was eventually downgraded to 7.6. This measurement falls just shy of the main 8.2-magnitude earthquake that struck late Tuesday.

As of Wednesday night, no immediate reports of damage had surfaced. However, the earthquake did prompt a tsunami warning for Chile and Peru.

A precautionary evacuation of low-lying areas on the northern coast was ordered by Chile's Emergency Office, according to the Associated Press.

However, the tsunami warning was canceled at 8:59 p.m. PDT, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

This area has been on alert recently after a magnitude-8.2 megathrust earthquake struck late on Tuesday off the coast of northern Chile and produced a large tsunami, according to U.S. officials.

The quake, which was at a depth of 6 miles and initially rated as a magnitude 8.0, occurred at 4:47 p.m. PDT, according to the United States Geological Survey. Thirty-six aftershocks have been reported since the major quake, including the recently strong 7.6-magnitude earthquake that struck at 7:43 p.m. PDT Wednesday.

So far, there have been six deaths as a result of this earthquake, according to the Associated Press.

The Chilean earthquake was detected on a seismograph in the Woolly Hollow State Park in central Arkansas. (Photo/Arkansas Seismic Network, Arkansas Geological Survey)

The 8.2 quake was the result of a megathrust between the Nacza and South America plates near the Chilean coast, the USGS said on its website. The website also showed more than two dozen aftershocks ranging from magnitudes of 4.7 to 7.6.

Chilean officials ordered a coastline evacuation as a result of the quake, The Associated Press reported.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said she declared a state of emergency to "avoid situations of looting and disorder, along with collaborating with the authority of the area in the relief efforts that have already begun."

The earthquake resulted in landslides that blocked roads and caused power outages for thousands of people. An airport was also damaged by the quake while many fires destroyed businesses and homes in the region.

Tsunami heights as high as 7.6 feet were reported at Pisagua, Chile, the U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center (NWTC) said.

The quake caused tsunami warnings to be issued for Chile, Ecuador, Panama and Peru. Tsunami watches were issued for Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, the U.S. center said.

These watches and warnings were all canceled by the center on Tuesday night after the threat of a tsunami had passed.

The NWS Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said that a tsunami wave of 1.9 feet occurred at Hilo, Hawaii, on Wednesday morning. Kahului, Maui, reported a wave of 1.7 feet. The wave was 1 foot high in Pago Pago, the capital of American Samoa.

A tsunami advisory previously issued for Hawaii was canceled Wednesday morning, local time by the Pacific center.

This chart shows the high-water levels associated with the tsunami that moved past Hilo, Hawaii, on Wednesday, April 2, 2014. (Photo/NOAA National Ocean Service)

A much smaller wave occurred along the California coast. The largest California wave was 0.6 feet at Port San Luis.

Dry weather is in store over the next few days in the Chilean city of Iquique as building inspections and cleanup from the earthquake begin.

Authorities were trying to round up about 300 female inmates who escaped from a prison after the earthquake in Iquique, the Associated Press reported. About two dozen were captured. The escape caused Peru to close its border with Chile.

U.S. officials were analyzing the possible tsunami threat to Hawaii and the West Coast. This is a energy map showing the forecast of tsunami waves throughout the Pacific Basin. (Photo/NOAA National Tsunami Warning Center)

Major earthquakes are not uncommon in Chile.

A March 16 earthquake in the same region registered a magnitude 6.7, according to the USGS. More than 60 quakes greater than magnitude 4, and 26 magnitude-5 quakes have occurred since, including three magnitude-6.2 quakes.

An 8.8-magnitude quake rocked Chile in February 2010 offshore 200 miles from Santiago, the nation's capital. The world's largest earthquake, a magnitude 9.5, also struck the country in May 1960.

A buoy, belonging to the Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service of the Chilean Navy, off the coast of northern Chile detected the magnitude-8.2 earthquake Tuesday, April 1, 2014, which shows the water column height before and after the quake. (Photo/NOAA National Data Buoy Center)

Meteorologist Eric Leister and Jordan Root contributed to this story.


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