A major earthquake of magnitude 8.0 struck off the coast of Chile on Tuesday, sparking a tsunami warning for all of South and Central America’s Pacific coast, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was very shallow, only 6.2 miles (10 km) below the seabed, and struck at 6:46 p.m. (0046 BST) 62 miles (99 km) northwest of the mining port of Iquique, near the Peruvian border.
“An earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines near the epicentre within minutes and more distant coastlines within hours,” the tsunami center said.
The warning said that aside from Chile, the coasts of Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua were also at risk. A tsunami of up to 6.3 feet (1.92 metres) could strike the town of Pisagua, Chile, within 44 minutes of the quake, it said.