Saturday, February 27, 2010

Massive 8.8 Quake Shakes Chile; Tsunami Warnings Issues Around Pacific

A massive 8.8 quake, 500 times the intensity of the deadly quake to hit Haiti, hit just outside Santiago, Chile.At least 70 people have been killed, but sadly the death toll is likely to rise seriously. Multiple aftershocks, including a 6.9 and 6.1 have also been experienced.

Tsunami warnings have been issued throughout the Pacific Rim, including South America, Australia and New Zealand, Japan, the Philippines, Russia and many Pacific islands and Hawaii, which saw massive devastation in 1960 when a tsunami hit Hilo Bay.

The USGS has issued tsunami warnings, and has indicated where tsunamis have already hit.

Some of the footage from Santiago shows collapsed elevated roadways (photo via Daylife), apartment and office buildings on fire, and all manner of buildings that have collapsed on lower levels and garages.Expect the US to send humanitarian assistance within a few days. What may mitigate the number of casualties in Chile is that the earthquake occurred offshore and the affected population densities aren't as high as in the deadly Haitian quake.

The main concern right now is that tsunamis could strike across the Pacific Ocean within hours of the initial quake. Those living near the Pacific coast in the affected areas should take heed of any warnings issued for those areas - and if they see the ocean receding from the normal shoreline, get to higher ground immediately as it is a sign of an impending tsunami coming ashore.

Video from Chile:

Tsunami warnings issued:

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