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8.2 Earthquake Hits Northern Chile, At Least 2 Dead

A strong 8.2-magnitude earthquake has struck off the northwestern coast of Chile, killing at least two people and setting off a small tsunami that prompted evacuations along the country's Pacific coast.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the earthquake was centered about 100 kilometers northwest of Iquique Tuesday evening. It was followed by several aftershocks, including one measuring 6.2-magnitude.

Chilean authorities said waves measuring about two meters were striking cities along the coast. Officials quickly ordered evacuations, warning that larger waves are expected later.

Iquique's governor, Gonzalo Prieto, told a local radio station that two people are confirmed dead and at least three are seriously injured.

There have been no reports of widespread damage. But Chile's emergency office said the earthquake has caused landslides that are partially blocking some roads and highways.

A tsunami alert has been issued for the entire Pacific coast of Central and South America.

U.S. officials say they have found no imminent threat of a tsunami along the coasts of Hawaii, Alaska, California, Oregon or Washington state after the earthquake near Chile, but the danger is still under evaluation.



Chile is one of the world's most earthquake prone countries. In 2010, a 8.8-magnitude quake rocked central Chile, killing over 500 people and destroying 220,000 homes.

The region hit by Tuesday's quake had also experienced several smaller temblors in recent days, including a 6.0-magnitude earthquake on Sunday.

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