SANTIAGO – An earthquake of magnitude 8.2 struck off Chile’s coast near Iquique, triggering a tsunami warning for all of Latin America's Pacific coast, the U.S. Geological Survey says.
It said the quake was very shallow, only 6.2 miles (some 10 kilometers) below the seabed, which would have made it feel stronger. It was centered 56 miles (some 86 kilometers) northwest of the mining area of Iquique.
The USGS said a quake of this force had the power to generate a “destructive tsunami” for coastlines.
The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued a warning after the quake, as did Chilean authorities who reportedly registered it as a 7.9-magnitude quake.
Chile is one of the most seismically active countries in the world.
Central and southern areas of the country were hit by a powerful earthquake of 8.8 magnitude quake followed by a tsunami that devastated scores of towns in February 2010.