Massive Earthquake in Chile

Just terrible news:

Early details coming in, some say it’s 8.5, others say it’s 8.3. [Update as of midnight Pacific time, now apparently mag. 8.8] Either way, that’s potentially devastating:

SANTIAGO, Chile (Reuters) – A massive magnitude-8.3 earthquake struck near Concepcion, Chile early on Saturday, USGS reported, shaking buildings and causing blackouts in parts of the capital of Santiago.

A Reuters witness reported shaking buildings and loss of electricity in Santiago.

Reuters is also reporting a “Tsunami warning in effect for Chile and Peru, Tsunami watch for Ecuador”, according to the MSNBC-affiliated Breaking News on Twitter.

Nothing we can do except pray, wait for details and gear up for relief efforts.

According to USGS, it struck offshore near Maule, Chile – a province with a population of a bit more than 900,000. The good news is that the depth of the quake was nearly 22 miles down (contrast to the recent Haiti quake of 5 miles down); the bad news is that the Haiti quake was 7.0 – meaning, I think, that this quake would be something like nearly 20 times more powerful. An 8.8 is rated as a quake which can cause serious damage across hundreds of miles.

UPDATE: Tsunami set to hit Hawaii about 4:19 pm Eastern, a little more than an hour from now. This is quite distant, and it may end up being nothing much, but maybe otherwise.

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