Costa Rica News – An 8.2-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of northern Chile on Tuesday, generating a tsunami, authorities said. The U.S. Geological Survey reported the quake, which hit at at 6:46 p.m. local time, was centered some 60 miles northwest of Iquique (map) at a depth of 12.5 miles.
Chile’s National Emergency Office tweeted Tuesday night that it was asking everyone to evacuate the South American nation’s coast.
CNN Chile broadcast video of people in Antofagasta, a port city, walking through the streets as traffic piled up in some places. They appeared to be calm.
A tsunami warning was in effect for Chile, Peru and Ecuador.
A tsunami watch was issued for Colombia, Panama and Costa Rica, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
The tsunami threat to Hawaii was still being evaluated. The U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center was working to determine the level of danger for Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California, as well as Canada’s British Columbia.
“Sea level readings indicate a tsunami was generated. It may have been destructive along coasts near the epicenter and could also be a threat to more distant coasts,” the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in its evaluation.
Tsunami waves of more than 6 feet generated by the earthquake had already washed ashore on the coast of Pisagua, Chile, said Victor Sardino with the center.
An 8.2-magnitude earthquake is capable of causing tremendous damage. There were no immediate reports of injuries.
Chile is on the so-called “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines circling the Pacific Basic that is prone to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.