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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, February 26, 2010

Hawaii under tsunami advisory after earthquake off Chile

Advertiser Staff

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has issued a tsunami advisory for the state following a strong earthquake Friday evening near the coast of Chile that caused substantial damage and killed at least six people.
At 9:45 p.m. Hawaii time, the warning center said sea level readings indicated that a tsunami was generated.
For updates from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, go to http://www.prh.noaa.gov/ptwc/

The magnitude 8.8 earthquake was reported at 8:34 p.m. Hawaii time and was centered near the coast of Chile.
An advisory was issued for Hawaii and forecasters said there is a possibility that the advisory could be elevated to a watch or warning. If tsunami waves reach the Islands, their earliest arrival time is estimated at 11:19 Saturday morning.
A tsunami warning is in effect for Chile and Peru. A tsunami watch was in effect for Ecuador, Colombia, Antarctica, Panama and Costa Rica.
The Associated Press reported that buildings shook and collapsed in Santiago, Chile. Phone lines were down in the country, making confirmation of damage difficult, especially further south toward the epicenter. The quake was felt in Argentina as well.
At least 6 people were killed, President Michele Bachelet said.
"We have had a huge earthquake," Bachelet said, speaking from an emergency response center in an appeal for Chileans to remain calm. "We're doing everything we can with all the forces we have. Any information we will share immediately."
The quake hit 197 miles (317 kilometers) southwest of the capital, Santiago, and at a depth of 36.9 miles (59.4 kilometers) at 3:34 a.m. Chile time.
Its epicenter was just 75 miles from Concepcion, Chile's second-largest city, where more than 200,000 people live along the Bio Bio river, and 60 miles from the ski town of Chillan, a gateway to Andean ski resorts that was destroyed in a 1939 earthquake.
The earthquake was centered near the May 23, 1960 quake off Chile that generated a tsunami that hit Hilo, killing 61 people and causing widespread damage.