Tsunami alert after 8.2 quake strikes off Chile

An earthquake of 8.2 magnitude has struck off northern Chile, triggering a tsunami alert for Latin America’s Pacific coastline, the US Geological Survey says.

It said the quake was very shallow, only 10km below the seabed, striking 86km (56 miles) north-west of the mining area of Iquique.

There are reports of waves hitting Pisagua, Patache and Iquique.

Chilean authorities ordered the speedy evacuation of coastal areas.

There are some reports of landslides hitting highways and Chilean TV has broadcast pictures of traffic jams as people tried to evacuate.

The quake struck at 20:46 local time (23:46 GMT).

The quake shook modern buildings in nearby Peru and in Bolivia’s high altitude capital of La Paz – more than 470km (290 miles) from Iquique.

At least eight strong aftershocks followed in the few hours after the quake, including a 6.2 tremor. Seismologists have warned that more aftershocks and an even bigger quake cannot be discounted.

The Chilean interior ministry told the BBC that one of the main roads outside Iquique was cut off because of hillside debris.

The ministry says that partial landslides have also taken place between the towns of Putre and General Lagos. BBC

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