Massive 8.8 magnitude quake in Chile; tsunami expected to reach Hawai’i

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A woman sits in front a quake-damaged house in Talca, Chile, after a 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck the country. Source: AP

President Michele Bachelet declared a state of catastrophe in central Chile after a massive 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck [at 3:34 am local time] Saturday.

The most powerful quake to hit the country in a half century cut electricity, water and phone lines to many areas, meaning there was no word of death or damage from many outlying areas.

There have been conflicting reports on the death toll, with some placing the count as high as 147, a number Chilean officials expect to rise…

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…A tsunami set off by the quake threatened every nation around the Pacific Ocean — roughly a quarter of the globe. Warnings were issued over a wide area, including South America, Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand, Japan, the Philippines, Russia and many Pacific islands.

READ: Hawaii Officials to Evacuate Coastal Areas

…A number of aftershocks continue to hit Chile, the largest one registering at magnitude 6.9, according to the U.S. Geological Survey…

…The quake epicenter was just 70 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…

APTOPIX Chile Earthquake

Residents look at a collapsed building in Concepcion, Chile after an 8.8-magnitude struck central Chile. The epicenter was 70 miles from Concepcion, Chile’s second-largest city. Source: AP

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Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle has declared a state of emergency as the island chain prepares for possible tsunami damage.

A geophysicist at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said Saturday that a potential tsunami, generated by a major earthquake in Chile, was approaching Hawaii a bit faster than originally predicted.

Victor Sardina says data coming in from buoys and tide gauges across the Pacific indicated the tsunami should arrive in Hawaii at 11:05 a.m. (4:05 p.m. ET), instead of 11:19 a.m.

The tsunami waves are expected to measure roughly 8 feet at Hilo, Hawaii.

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Tsunami travel times: National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration

Tsunami travel times: National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration

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