Tsunami warning after 8.0 quake strikes off Chile

An earthquake of 8.0 magnitude has struck off Chile's coast near Iquique, triggering a tsunami warning for all of Latin America's Pacific coast, the US Geological Survey says.

An earthquake of 8.0 magnitude has struck off Chile's coast near Iquique, triggering a tsunami warning for all of Latin America's Pacific coast, the US Geological Survey says.

An earthquake of 8.0 magnitude has struck off Chile's coast near Iquique, triggering a tsunami warning for all of Latin America's Pacific coast, the US Geological Survey says.

It said the quake was very shallow, only 10km below the seabed, which would have made it feel stronger.

It was centred 86km (56 miles) north-west of the mining area of Iquique.

The Chilean authorities have used TV to order the evacuation of coastal areas, urging citizens to escape speedily.

A warning from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said that the coasts of Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua were all at risk of a tsunami.

It warned that waves of up to 1.92m (6.3ft) could have struck near the town of Pisagua, Chile, within 44 minutes of the quake.

There have been no reports yet of damage.

The USGS said a quake of this force had the power to generate a "destructive tsunami" for coastlines.

Chilean authorities reportedly registered the quake as 7.9 magnitude.

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.

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