Chile declares emergency following lethal 8.2 magnitude earthquakes
After two northern regions of Chile were devastated by a 8.2 magnitude earthquake, the nation has declared an official emergency.
11:17 02 April 2014
At least six people are dead as tens of thousands flee the scene of a massive earthquake that struck the north west of Chile 50 miles from the coast.
The quake took place just six miles beneath the surface of the ocean, pushing out huge 6.3ft waves and sparking concerns of a tsunami follow up. While localised flooding for low-level areas has already happened, the tsunami could spread as far as Hawaii and New Zealand.
Earthquakes can result in repeats, of which Mark Simons, a geophysicist at Caltech in Pasadena, California, warned CNN: "We're expecting a potentially even larger earthquake. It could be tomorrow. Or it could be 50 years. We do not know when it's going to occur."
In the hours following the initial quake there were 29 recorded aftershocks - the strongest was 6.2 and came 12 minutes after the initial earthquake that struck in the midnight hour of Tuesday.
Nearly 300 inmates of a women's prison in the city of Iquique went on the run after the earthquake provided them with a means of escape.
Rodrigo Peñailillo, Chile's interior minister, said: "We have taken various public safety measures due to the mass escape of over 300 female inmates at their prison in Iquique.
"Personnel from the armed forces are working in collaboration with police under the leadership of the government to offer security and peace of mind to the residents of Iquique."
Of the quake, the U.S. Geological Survey said: "The April 1, 2014 M8.2 earthquake in northern Chile occurred as the result of thrust faulting at shallow depths near the Chilean coast. The location and mechanism of the earthquake are consistent with slip on the primary plate boundary interface, or megathrust, between the Nazca and South America plates."
The largest quake on Chile's record was back in May 22, 1960. It measured 9.5.