A powerful magnitude-8.2 earthquake struck off Chile's northern coast tonight, and officials ordered an evacuation of coastal areas before an expected tsunami; waves measuring almost 6.5 feet already were striking cities on the coast, and authorities said a tsunami was expected to come ashore later. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage from the tremor, which also shook buildings in parts of nearby Peru and Bolivia, and local TV images showed residents evacuating calmly.
The US Geological Survey said the quake struck 61 miles northwest of Iquique at 8:46pm, hitting a region that has been rocked by numerous quakes over the past two weeks. US officials say they've found no imminent threat of a tsunami along the coasts of Hawaii, Alaska, California, Oregon, or Washington. Paul Whitmore, the director of the National Weather Service's West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center, says the greatest potential threat is to Hawaii, but analysts aren't yet issuing a watch or warning. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says if tsunami waves are generated, the earliest they'd hit Hawaii is 3:24am Hawaii Standard Time. (Read more earthquake stories.)