Earthquake In Chile Causes Tsunami, Landslides — And A Prison Break

On Tuesday evening, a powerful earthquake struck the the coast of Chile, triggering landslides, several small tsunamis, and a prison break. The country's northern coast has been evacuated, and a tsunami report was issued for the entire Pacific coastline of South America. Two deaths have been reported so far.

The 8.2-magnitude quake was so powerful that it caused tremors almost 300 miles away in Bolivia, and even registered on a seismograph in Alabama. Initially, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said that the coasts of Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica were all at risk for a bigger, “destructive tsunami” later in the night; however, it later amended that warning, saying it applied only to Chile and Peru. That warning will be in place for the next six hours, or until around 6:00 am local time, Interior Minister Rodrigo Peñailillo said.

In addition to the tsunamis, the earthquake also resulted in the inadvertent escape of 300 inmates from an all-female prison in the northern city of Iquique. At a hastily-organized press conference, Peñailillo announced that an emergency squad of 100 riot police, in addition to 300 members of the country’s military, would be flown in to the city to maintain order alongside local police. The nature of the prison break, as well as the extent of the prison’s physical damages, is still unclear.

The U.S. Geographical Survey initially thought the quake to be 8.0, but upgraded it shortly afterwards. Some roads in Northern Chile were blocked by landslides, and it's thought that there's damage to some roads, particularly in northern Chile. According to a news program on ADN Radio in Chile, the earthquake lasted for "a long time," the Wall Street Journal reports, causing blackouts and panic for Chile residents.

According to the Mayor of Alto Hospicio, at least two people have died so far from the quake. One succumbed to a heart attack, while the other death is "being investigated."

Many smaller tremors have struck the area in recent weeks, which had stoked fears about a larger quake being on its way.