Catastrophic 8.8 Earthquake Strikes Chile – Tsunami Threatens Hawaii
Releasing energy 500 times that of the recent Haitian tragedy, a massive 8.8 magnitude earthquake hit south-central Chile early Saturday.
Reports thus far indicate that more than 65 have been killed and numerous buildings destroyed. Of serious concern is the resulting tsunami that potentially threatens the Hawaiian Islands.
Reuters reported that several buildings collapsed in the city of Curico and that there was damage to buildings in the historic center of the capital Santiago, about 200 miles north of the epicenter. The capital’s international airport was forced to close, a highway bridge collapsed and chunks of buildings fell into the street.
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet urged people to stay calm. “With a quake of this size we undoubtedly can’t rule out more deaths and probably injuries,” she said.
According to Reuters, Saturday’s quake shook buildings as far away as Argentina’s Andean provinces of Mendoza and San Juan. A series of strong aftershocks rocked Chile’s coastal region from Valdivia in southern to Valparaiso, about 500 miles to the north.