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.
CHILE UPDATE: Authorities report 1 death in a town north of Santiago http://t.co/zomSKJDT0c
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) September 17, 2015
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.
Update: Hawaii under a Tsunami Advisory. No major tsunami expected for the state. However, sea level changes and strong currents may occur.
— NWSHonolulu (@NWSHonolulu) September 17, 2015
CNN’s sister network, CNN Chile, reported a strong aftershock about 145 miles away from the earthquake’s epicenter.
7.9-magnitude earthquake strikes off Chile's coast. http://t.co/K2dsCqyHsj
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) September 16, 2015
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.