Tens of thousands flee to higher grounds as fears mount of a tsunami after an earthquake struck Chile’s Southern Coast on Sunday at approximately 3.20 pm ET. Hundreds of tourists spending their New Year’s holiday along the coast are heading north, clogging roads and toll stations along the way.
The US Geological Survey advised the epicenter was just off the Pacific coast, 70 kilometers (45 miles) northwest of Temuco at a depth of 25.1 km (15.6 miles).
Soon after the 7.1 magnitude earthquake, a 5.0 magnitude aftershock was felt at around 4.10 pm ET about 110 km (70 miles northwest of Temuco). There have been reports it could be felt from as far away as Santiago, approximately 595 km (370 miles) away.
Vicente Nunez, head of the National Emergency Office, reported there were no immediate reports of deaths or damage and no tsunami alert was issued. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii also said they did not expect any Pacific Ocean wide tsunami. Some cell phone communications were lost in the earthquake with some areas around the Araucania region are currently without water and electricity.
Sunday’s earthquake struck approximately 100 miles south of Concepcion, the nation’s second largest city, where in February 2010 an 8.8 magnitude earthquake killed over five hundred and triggered a tsunami along the Chile’s coast.