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Major earthquake hits Chile, tsunami warnings issued (Updated)

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A major earthquake of magnitude 8.2 struck off the coast of Chile on Tuesday, triggering a tsunami that hit the northern part of the country and a tsunami warning for all of South and Central America's Pacific coast. 

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The earthquake reportedly hit offshore, 62 miles northwest of the mining port of Iquique, near the Peruvian border. The biggest worry is the possibility of a major tsunami. Google Maps

Note: If you like to following events as they happen, here are two sites you can use.

The first is twitter:https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Chilequake&src=hash

The second is the Guardian's live report:http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/02/tsunami-warning-for-chile-sparks-evacuation-live-updates

Chilean TV shows lots of people in the streets but no panic. You can watch live here: http://www.24horas.cl/

A photo accompanying a tweet by Todd Durrant (@jstoddisgood) as Iquique residents flood the streets of a Chilean town after the earthquake and warnings of a probable tsunami.

Locals gather on the street following a tsunami alert after a powerful 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck off Chile's Pacific coast on April 1, 2014 in Antofagasta. A tsunami warning has been issued for Chile, Peru and Ecuador, US officials said. The quake struck at a depth of 10 kilometers (six miles), 83 kilometers from Iquique on Chile's northern coast, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said. AFP PHOTO / FRANCESCO DEGASPERI

13:45

According to the United States Geological Survey indicates there have been at least 25 aftershocks ranging from 4.7 to 6.2 magnitude. Fortunately, there are still no reports of a major tsunami.

11:40

Chile is still under a tsunami watch and tens of thousands of people have been evacuated away from the coast. Five deaths have been reported in the aftermath of the earthquake, but not all were from destructive forces. At least two victims reportedly died from heart attacks.

Meanwhile, tsunami alerts have been issued for much of the Pacific region though damage, if any, is not expected to be severe. Here is a map show the times it takes for waves generated by the Chilean earthquake to reach different areas.

National Tsunami Warning Centre

Major earthquake hits Chile, tsunami warnings issued

This report has just come in from Reuters

A major earthquake of magnitude 8.0 struck off the coast of Chile on Tuesday, triggering a tsunami that hit the northern part of the country and a tsunami warning for all of South and Central America's Pacific coast.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was very shallow, only 6.2 miles below the seabed, and struck at 6:46 p.m. local time (2346 GMT) 62 miles northwest of the mining port of Iquique, near the Peruvian border.

The Chilean navy said the first tsunami wave had hit the coast within 45 minutes of the quake.

"An earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines near the epicenter within minutes and more distant coastlines within hours," the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

Meanwhile, the Guardian's John Franklin confirmed that waves generated by a tsunami had already hit.

"First waves hitting northern coast around eight feet high. Fears that next round of waves could be worse. Evacuation order for huge swaths of Northern Chile to be in effect throughout the night. Traffic jams as citizens ignore pleas to evacuate on foot."

I'll have more as the situation becomes clearer.

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