Pacific Braces for Tsunami
Japan, Australia, Hawaii, Alaska all on alert
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 27, 2010 7:05 AM CST
Japan Meteorological Agency's official Yasuo Sekita speaks near a graphic showing the seismic center of an earthquake in Chile during a news conference at the agency in Tokyo Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010.   (Shuji Kajiyama)
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(Newser) – Wide swaths of the south Pacific, Asia, and Australia braced for a tsunami after a devastating earthquake hit the coast of Chile this morning. Officials in Japan and Australia warned a tsunami from the earthquake was likely to hit Asian shorelines within 24 hours. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii issued a tsunami caution for areas across the region.

"Sea-level readings confirm that a tsunami has been generated which could cause widespread damage," the center said after the magnitude-8.8 quake. "Authorities should take appropriate action to respond to this threat." A tsunami after a magnitude-9.5 quake that struck Chile in 1960, the largest earthquake ever recorded, killed about 140 people in Japan, 61 in Hawaii, and 32 in the Philippines. A tsunami had already been observed off the coast of Chile that may threaten Australia.