Chile earthquake: 8.3-magnitude quake strikes off coast

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(Sept. 16, 2015) — A powerful 8.3-magnitude earthquake struck off Chile’s coast on Wednesday, according to a preliminary assessment from the U.S. Geological Survey.

A magnitude-8.3 earthquake struck off the coast of Chile on Sept. 16, 2015. (Credit: USGS)

A magnitude-8.3 earthquake struck off the coast of Chile on Sept. 16, 2015. (Credit: USGS)

The quake’s epicenter was about 55 kilometers (34 miles) west of Illapel, Chile, USGS said. It occurred around 7:54 p.m. (6:45 p.m. ET) and had a depth of 33 kilometers (20.5 miles).

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

“Widespread hazardous tsunami waves are possible” along the coast of Chile and Peru, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

Chile’s national emergency agency issued a tsunami warning, encouraging people to remain calm and go to secure areas.

A strong aftershock could be felt in the country’s capital, CNN sister network CNN Chile reported.

Chile is in one of the most earthquake-prone regions in the world.

The country sits on an arc of volcanoes and fault lines circling the Pacific Ocean known as the “Ring of Fire.” The area experiences frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Since 1973, Chile has had more than a dozen quakes of magnitude-7.0 and above.