SANTIAGO, April 2: A powerful 8.0-magnitude earthquake hit off Chile’s Pacific coast on Tuesday, sparking a tsunami warning for Chile, Peru and Ecuador, US officials said. The quake struck at 846 pm local time (2346 GMT) at a depth of 10 kilometers (six miles), 83 kilometers from Iquique on Chile’s northern coast, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said. The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a warning.
Chilean authorities also issued a tsunami alert after the quake, which they registered at 7.9. Chile is one of the most seismically active countries in the world, and a large earthquake has long been expected in the north of the country. In February 2010, central and southern Chile were hit by a powerful earthquake of 8.8-magnitude followed by a tsunami that devastated dozens of towns. The quake left more than 500 dead and $30 billion in damage to infrastructure.