Earlier this year Chile suffered a magnitude-6.7 quake on March 16 that caused more than 100,000 people to briefly evacuate low-lying areas. Although there was no physical damage, this smaller scale quake left behind an unnerving suspicion of a larger, more severe earthquake such as the one today.
An extremely powerful magnitude-8.2 earthquake, with at least four confirmed aftershocks, struck Chile’s northern coast Tuesday night. Country officials have ordered an immediate evacuation of all coastal areas before an expected tsunami. There are reports of 2m (6ft) waves heading for the Chilean coastline. There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage from the tremor, which also shook buildings in parts of nearby Peru and Bolivia. The oncoming tsunami could possibly be devastating for Chile’s infrastructure and could have extremely harmful effects on the city.
Chile, a country with a previous reputation for earthquakes, was home to the strongest earthquake ever recorded — a magnitude-9.5 tremor in 1960 that resulted in the deaths of more than 5,000 people.
In 2010, a magnitude-8.8 quake and ensuing tsunami in central Chile killed more than 500 people and shredded over 200,000 homes causing caused widespread damage.
“Our entire coastal profile should be vigilant and prepared” says Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa on Twitter.