8.8 magnitude earthquake hits Chile

An 8.8 magnitude earthquake was recorded in Chile on Saturday, killing at least 78 people and causing significant structural damage. Sea level recording triggered a tsunami warning for Chile, Peru, and Ecuador. This was later extended to Colombia, Antarctica, and Central America. The earthquake was felt in Chillan, Talca, Concepcion, and the capital Santiago.

The earthquake, which started at 06.34.14 UTC, was felt as far as Argentina. The Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Center has issued a tsunami warning for Australia in the wake of the quake.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has announced that a tsunami warning is in effect, and that the wave will be arriving at Panama, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica a few minutes after 13.00 UTC. It has also issued a warning for Hawaii, where the tsunami, estimated to be sixteen feet high, will hit at 11:19 local time (09.00 UTC).

This earthquake occurred at the boundary between the Nazca and South American tectonic plates. The two plates are converging at a rate of 80 mm per year. The earthquake occurred as the Nazca plate moved down and below the South American plate.

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