Northern coast of Chile rocked by another powerful 7.8-magnitude aftershock following Tuesday's earthquake
Chile's northern coast has been rocked a powerful 7.8-magnitude aftershock, the U.S. Geological Survey has reported, just days after the same area was hit by a powerful magnitude-8.2 earthquake.
The aftershock caused buildings to shake in the port of Iquique, which saw some damage from the big quake on Tuesday. There are no immediate reports of new damage or injuries.
The latest tremor came 45 minutes after a strong 6.4-magnitude aftershock shook the same area.
People walk along a cracked road in Iquique, northern Chile, on April 2, 2014 a day after a powerful 8.2-magnitude earthquake hit off Chile's Pacific coast
Fishermen salvage the remains of a boat which was destroyed overnight in the port of Iquique
The stronger aftershock's epicenter was 23 kilometers south of Iquique. The USGS said the aftershock had a depth of 20 kilometers.
Hard-won expertise and a big dose of luck had helped Chile escape its latest magnitude-8.2 earthquake on Tuesday with surprisingly little damage and death. The country that suffers some of the world's most powerful quakes has strict building codes, mandatory evacuations and emergency preparedness that sets a global example.
But Chileans weren't satisfied Wednesday, finding much room for improvement. And experts warn that a 'seismic gap' has left northern Chile overdue for a far bigger quake.
Women push a child in a grocery cart as the evacuate their homes after a the aftershock in Iquique
Blankets cover the town centre as people set up makeshift refugee camps following the 8.2 jolt
These residents were starting their move to higher ground to avoid further devastation or jolts
Residents who have fled their homes sleep on an open street by a petrol station
Authorities on Wednesday discovered just six reported deaths from the previous night's quake.
It's possible that other people were killed in older structures made of adobe in remote communities that weren't immediately accessible, but it's still a very low toll for such a powerful shift in the undersea fault that runs along the length of South America's Pacific coast.
'How much is it luck? How much is it science? How much is it preparedness? It is a combination of all of the above. I think what we just saw here is pure luck.
The tremors were felt as far inland as landlocked Bolivia and sparked evacuation warnings up the coast
Last night this child peddled her tricycle ahead of her family as they make a mass move to higher ground
Residents pushed elderly relatives in wheelchairs and grabbed their pets before fleeing to higher ground
Though most of their possessions were crushed in the aftershock, some families had suitcases of a few items
'Mostly, it is luck that the tsunami was not bigger and that it hit a fairly isolated area of Chile,' said Costas Synolakis, an engineer who directs the Tsunami Research Center at the University of Southern California.
Chile is one of the world's most seismic countries and is particularly prone to tsunamis, because of the way the Nazca tectonic plate plunges beneath the South American plate, pushing the towering Andes cordillera ever higher.
About 2,500 homes were damaged in Alto Hospicio, a poor neighborhood in the hills above Iquique, a city of nearly 200,000 people whose coastal residents joined a mandatory evacuation ahead of a tsunami that rose to only 8 feet (2.5 meters).
Exodus: The mass move to higher ground came as residents suffered the second sleepless night due to jolts
Many were caught unaware as the Chilean government has yet to install quake alerts for the area
Chileaen President Michelle Bachelet arrives in Iquique on Wednesday to review the damage. The earthquake, which hit regions of Arica, Parinacota, Tarapaca and Antofagasta, has left six dead
People stand in line to buy fuel in Iquique on Tuesday
Fishermen look to salvage any remains in the port of Iquique
Destruction: Fishing boats are washed ashore by a tsunami in the northern port of Iquique, Chile, after magnitude 8.2 earthquake struck the northern coast of the country on Tuesday
The country's president, Michelle Bachelet, declared parts of Chile's north a disaster zone, promising troops and police reinforcements to maintain order
A man walks by a boat washed onto a jetty in the harbor in Iquique, where President Michelle Bachelet was reportedly due to visit after the earthquake
Carnage: A house wall collapsed after a magnitude 8.2 earthquake hit northern Chile near the city of Iquique
A damaged house is seen in Arica: Thousands of people who evacuated Chile's low-lying coastal areas returned home this morning after authorities called off a tsunami alarm as damage from a massive overnight earthquake seemed mostly limited
The quake struck off the coast of northern Chile near the copper exporting port of Iquique on Tuesday evening, killing six and triggering a tsunami that pounded the shore with 7ft waves
Iquique's fishermen poked through the aftermath: sunken and damaged boats that could cost millions of dollars to repair and replace.
Still, as President Michelle Bachelet deployed hundreds of anti-riot police and soldiers to prevent looting and round up escaped prisoners, it was clear that the loss of life and property could have been much worse.
Mines in Chile, the world's No 1 copper producer, mostly said they were functioning normally, and oil refineries said they were normalizing operations.
Local television showed images of smaller fishing vessels damaged and overturned in at least one northern port.
Thousands of miles away in Hawaii, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center cautioned residents that possible sea level changes and strong currents could pose a danger to swimmers and boaters.
Fire: Firefighters try to extinguish a fire on a restaurant by the sea shore after a powerful 8.2-magnitude earthquake hit off Chile's Pacific coast in Iquique. A tsunami warning has been issued for Chile, Peru and Ecuador, US officials said
Effects: A man stares at a burning restaurant close to the sea shore after the quake
Dramatic night: A fire burns at a restaurant after an earthquake in Iquique, Chile, Tuesday night
A fire sends smoke billowing into the night sky in the city of Iquique, 60 miles from the earthquake's epicentre
Over 900,000 people were evacuated from the coastline along Chile on Tuesday, the government's emergency office said, in a move that media said took place in a largely orderly fashion.
But in the chaos, about 300 inmates escaped from a women's prison in the city.
Around 40 of the women were soon recaptured after Chile's military sent a planeload of special forces to the area, the country's investigative police said.
Rescue: An elderly person is evacuated from a shelter after a tsunami alarm at Antofagasta city, north of Santiago on the southern Pacific coast, April 1, 2014
Help: The major earthquake of magnitude 8.2 struck off the coast of Chile on Tuesday, triggering a tsunami that hit the northern part of the country
A woman is taken away in a wheelchair at a petrol station after the quake struck at a depth of six miles, 83 kilometres from Iquique on Chile's northern coast
Evacuation: A group of people evacuates towards a high zone due to a Tsunami alert after an 8.2 Richter scale earthquake in Valaparaiso, Chile
Terror: Thousands pour into the streets after tremors rocked their homes in the port city of Antofagasta
Its mandatory evacuation orders remained in effect until nearly dawn for coastal areas north of Antofogasta, a decision backed by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii.
Earlier geophysicist Gerard Fryer said: 'We regard the coast line of Chile as still dangerous, so we're maintaining the warning.'
Ms Bachelet, who just returned to the presidency three weeks ago, spoke well after midnight, five hours after the quake struck at 8.46pm local time yesterday (00.46am BST today).
It was not lost on many Chileans that the last time she presided over a major quake, days before the end of her 2006-10 term, her emergency preparedness office prematurely waved off a tsunami danger.
Waiting: Residents wait on a street in Antofagasta, Chile, after an earthquake hits, causing a small tsunami
Nerves: People embrace on the upper floor of an apartment building located a few blocks from the coast where they gathered to avoid a possible tsunami after an earthquake in Iquique, Chile
Scared: Locals gather on the street following a tsunami alert after a powerful 8.0-magnitude earthquake hit off Chile's Pacific coast, on April 1, 2014 in Antofagasta
Deaths: Locals gather on the street following the earthquake that left at least five dead
Shock: People in the Chilean town of Iquique prepared to flee their homes after an earthquake off the coast led to tsunami warnings across Latin America
Fear: Locals in Iquique stand in the street after the tsunami alert was issued for Chile, Peru and Ecuador
Nowhere to go: Families in Antofagasta sit in the street after being told to leave their homes
Most of the 500 dead from that magnitude-8.8 tremor survived the shaking, only to be caught in killer waves in a disaster that destroyed 220,000 homes and washed away large parts of many coastal communities.
'The country has done a good job of confronting the emergency. I call on everyone to stay calm and follow the authorities' instructions,' she tweeted after the latest quake.
When she finally addressed the nation, she said Mr Penailillo would monitor the tsunami threat throughout the night and co-ordinate the emergency response.
'Classes have been suspended, and we will be able to know the extent of the damage in the light of day,' she added.
The tsunami warning centre cancelled tsunami watches for areas other than northern Chile and southern Peru.
Military vehicles patrol through Iquique after landslides blocked roads, knocked out power for thousands, damaged an airport and sparked fires that destroyed several businesses
Ushering them to safety: A fireman helps evacuate people in Valaparaiso, Chile
Location: The earthquake struck near the coastal city of Iquique, in the northern region of Chile
Powerful: A graphic predicting the force and direction of the tsunami created by the earthquake
Danger zone: A graphic forecasting the travel time of the tsunami to coastal areas around the Pacific Ocean
Quake: A map shows the location of the powerful magnitude earthquake, around 61 miles from Iquique
Far reaching: The effects of the powerful quake were noted by a seismic station in Alaska
The only US impact might be higher waves for Hawaii's swimmers and surfers, it said.
The US Geological Survey initially reported the quake at 8.0, but later upgraded the magnitude of the quake that struck 61 miles north west of Iquique.
More than 20 significant aftershocks followed, including a 6.2 tremor. More aftershocks and even a larger quake could not be ruled out, said seismologist Mario Pardo at the University of Chile.
The quake was so strong that the shaking experienced in Bolivia's capital about 290 miles away was the equivalent of a 4.5-magnitude tremor, authorities there said.
Ready to take 'any measures': Chilean President Michelle Bachelet (centre) declared 'emergency zone' in the regions of Arica and Parinacota in the northern part of the country
Chaos: There were scores of people lining the streets Tuesday night after the quake shook the region
Waves: Lights illuminate the coast after an earthquake in Iquique
Flooded: View of the local Casino flooded after the powerful 8.0-magnitude earthquake hit
Quake: The quake struck at a depth of 10 kilometers (six miles), 83 kilometers from Iquique on Chile's northern coast, the United States Geological Survey said
Frightened residents in some towns posted videos and pictures on Twitter as they spilled out of their homes following the quake to head for safer areas inland.
One woman, Javiera Mora Araya, who lives in the Chilean coastal city of Chañaral tweeted an image of her neighbours fleeing their homes and heading into the streets after the tsunami warning was issued.
Lengthy queues of traffic quickly formed as families headed inland, while others in Iquique took refuge in the city's stadium.
Refuge: Local people take refuge inside Iquique's city stadium after fleeing their homes
Shelter: A mother comforts her two children inside the stadium
No major injuries: There were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage on shore, but warnings for people to flee to higher ground and advisories were issued for coastal areas up South and Central America's huge Pacific coast
Some roads in northern Chile were blocked by landslides, only exacerbating the jams among people leaving the coast. But coastal residents remained calm as they head inland while waves measuring almost 2 meters (6 1/2 feet) struck their cities.
As well as damaged homes, pictured emerged of a burning restaurant and a partially destroyed church.
Chile is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries because just off the coast, the Nazca tectonic plate plunges beneath the South American plate, pushing the towering Andes to ever-higher altitudes.
The latest activity began with a strong magnitude-6.7 quake on March 16 that caused more than 100,000 people to briefly evacuate low-lying areas.
Hundreds of smaller quakes followed in the weeks since, keeping people on edge as scientists said there was no way to tell if the unusual string of tremors was a harbinger of an impending disaster.
WHEN THE EARTH MOVED: WHY THE CHILEAN COAST IS PARTICULARLY VULNERABLE TO EARTHQUAKES
The largest earthquake recorded in modern times hit off the coast of Chile on May 22, 1960, and had a magnitude of 9.5
It killed around 1,655 people, injured 3,000, left 2million homeless and caused half a billion dollars worth of damage.
Tsunami waves reached heights of 38ft (11.5m) and carried the remains of shattered homes as far as two miles inland.
The earthquake was thought to have triggered an eruption two days later of Volcan Puyehue, which raged for several weeks sending steam and ash four miles into the air.
A magnitude-8.8 quake and ensuing tsunami in central Chile in 2010 killed more than 500 people, destroyed 220,000 homes, and washed away docks, riverfronts and seaside resorts.
Dr Steven Godby, an expert in disaster management at Nottingham Trent University, told MailOnline several drills and new systems had been put in place since then.
'The government of Chile has been working hard to improve the awareness of people living along the coast,' he said.
'An estimated 500,000 people took part in a drill in May 2012 in the coastal region of Valparaiso.'
The region is particularly vulnerable to earthquakes as it sits on the boundary between the Nazca plate and South America plate in the earth’s crust.
The Aftermath of Chile's Earthquake
The magnitude 8.2 quake triggered a localized tsunami that battered the coastline with seven-foot waves. The shallow temblor (12.5 miles below the seabed) also set off dozens of aftershocks -- 18 of them above magnitude 5.0 so far, including a magnitude 7.6 aftershock last night. Surprisingly, damage and casualties were very limited. Several fires erupted, smaller structures suffered minimal damage, and six deaths were reported -- the victims were either crushed under debris or suffered fatal heart attacks. Today, Chile's navy cancelled a tsunami alert and its emergency office, Onemi, which had earlier asked residents to evacuate the coastline, said people could return to their homes.
Fishermen try to salvage their boats in the aftermath of an earthquake and tsunami that hit the northern port of Iquique, Chile, on April 2, 2014. The earthquake, with a magnitude of 8.2, struck off the coast of northern Chile near the copper exporting port of Iquique on Tuesday evening, killing six and triggering a tsunami that pounded the shore with 2-meter (7-foot) waves.(Reuters/Francisco Alcayaga Motta)
People embrace on the upper floor of an apartment building located a few blocks from the coast where they gathered to avoid a possible tsunami after an earthquake in Iquique, Chile, on April 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Cristian Viveros) #
People flee Costa Verde bay after a tsunami alert in Lima, Peru, on April 1, 2014. A tsunami warning was issued for Chile, Peru and Ecuador. (Ernesto Benavides/AFP/Getty Images) #
A fire burns in Iquique city, viewed from the top floor of a neighboring building during a vertical evacuation after a tsunami alarm on April 1, 2014. (Reuters/Cristian Vivero) #
Women push a child in a grocery cart as the evacuate their homes after a strong aftershock in Iquique, on April 3, 2014. A powerful aftershock hit Chile's far-northern coast late Wednesday night, shaking the same area where a magnitude-8.2 earthquake hit just a day before causing some damage and six deaths. (AP Photo/Cristian Vivero) #
Locals gather on the street following a tsunami alert after a powerful 8.0-magnitude earthquake hit off Chile's Pacific coast on April 1, 2014 in Antofagasta. (Francesco Degasperi/AFP/Getty Images) #
Firefighters battle a blaze started after an earthquake and tsunami hit the northern port of Iquique on April 2, 2014.(Reuters/Hector Merida) #
A cameraman records near cars caught under rubble after an earthquake and tsunami hit Iquique on April 2, 2014.(Reuters/Ivan Alvarado) #
Vehicles and boats lie on the shore after a tsunami hit the port of Iquique on April 2, 2014. (Reuters/Cristian Vivero) #
People sit outside as they evacuate their homes after a strong aftershock in Iquique on April 3, 2014.(AP Photo/Cristian Vivero) #
People walk along a cracked road in Iquique on April 2, 2014, a day after a powerful 8.2-magnitude earthquake hit off Chile's Pacific coast. (Aldo Solimano/AFP/Getty Images) #
Rescue workers inspect a car caught under an earthquake-triggered landslide in Iquique on April 2, 2014.(Reuters/Cristian Vivero) #
Quake-damaged houses in Iquique on April 2, 2014. (Aldo Solimano/AFP/Getty Images) #
Fishing boats washed ashore by a small tsunami sit in Caleta Riquelme, adjacent to the port in Iquique, after a magnitude 8.2 earthquake struck on April 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Cristian Vivero) #
A fisherman tries to salvage a boat after the earthquake and tsunami in Iquique on April 2, 2014.(Reuters/Francisco Alcayaga Motta) #
Part of a chair floats in a flooded area of Iquique, following a small tsunami, on April 2, 2014. (Aldo Solimano/AFP/Getty Images) #
A resident looks at debris around a home after an earthquake in Iquique on April 2, 2014. (Reuters/Ivan Alvarado) #
People queue to get fuel at Riquelme Cove, in Iquique, on April 2, 2014. (Juan Leonel/AFP/Getty Images) #
A soldier directs traffic in Iquique on April 2, 2014. ( AP Photo/ Luis Hidalgo, Pool) #
White barricade tape that reads "Danger" in Spanish blocks off damage caused overnight in the port of Iquique, on April 2, 2014.(AP Photo/Cristian Vivero) #
People line up outside a market to buy supplies after the earthquake in Iquique on April 2, 2014. (Reuters/Ivan Alvarado) #
Residents walk to higher ground after a 7.6 magnitude quake, following Tuesday's earthquake and tsunami, in Iquique on April 2, 2014. There were no reports of casualties or damage to infrastructure after the powerful 7.6 magnitude quake that triggered a tsunami alert, Chile's Onemi emergency office told Reuters on Thursday. The quake struck off northern Chile late on Wednesday, prompting tsunami alerts and evacuations along the coast and in neighboring Peru. (Reuters/Ivan Alvarado) #
People from the town of Pozo al Monte, close to the city of Iquique, camp out on a stadium field on April 3, 2014, as earthquakes rocked the area over the last 48-hours. (Cris Bouroncle/AFP/Getty Images) #
Police patrol streets as people walk to higher ground in a tsunami safety zone after a 7.6-magnitude aftershock hit the northern port of Iquique on April 3, 2014. (Reuters/Ivan Alvarado) #
A resident from the town of Pozo al Monte, close to the city of Iquique, camps out early on April 3, 2014, in fear of more quakes rocking the area. Chile's navy cancelled a tsunami alert for all of the coastline on Thursday following a strong 7.6 magnitude quake off the north of the country. It was the strongest of several aftershocks that followed a huge 8.2-magnitude quake blamed for six deaths in the same region on Tuesday. Chile's emergency office, Onemi, which had earlier asked residents to evacuate the coastline, said "people can return to their homes". (Cris Bouroncle/AFP/Getty Images)