Earthquake in Chile Registers 8.3 on Richter Scale, Sparks Tsunami Concerns

Kimberly RipleyLife

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An earthquake struck Chile at about 6:45 p.m. ET Wednesday, registering 8.3 on the richter scale, according to a preliminary assessment from the U.S. Geological Survey. A tsunami alert prompted evacuation orders in coastal areas.

The earthquake's epicenter was located approximately 34 miles west of Illapel, Chile. It was approximately 20.5 miles deep.

Ricardo Toro is the director of Chile’s emergency agency. He told reporters following the earthquake that there hadn't been any reports thus far of major damage. One death has been reported.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a warning following the earthquake, saying “widespread hazardous tsunami waves are possible” along the coast of Chile and Peru, and that a tsunami watch is in effect for Hawaii as well.

CNN's sister network, CNN Chile, reported a strong aftershock about 145 miles away from the earthquake's epicenter.

Chile sits on an arc of volcanoes and fault lines known as the "Ring of Fire." The area is known for its frequent volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. The country has experienced more than a dozen earthquakes registering at 7.0 and above since 1973.

Kimberly Ripley

Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A wife, mom of five and ‘Nana’ to Lilly and Aiden, she loves cooking for her big family and watching HGTV in her spare time. Kim is guilty of starting way more home design projects than she can finish. Visit her at Twitter and Facebook.