UPDATE: Tsunami Advisory Issued Warning of Strong Currents
***Updated 6:05 p.m.***
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center on Oahu issued a tsunami advisory for the state of Hawaii at 5:45 p.m.
According to the center, an advisory means the threat of a potential tsunami may produce “strong currents or waves dangerous to those in or near the water.”
Coastal regions historically prone to damage from strong currents caused by tsunami are at greatest risk, the center said.
Significant widespread inundation is not expected for areas under an advisory.
An advisory is far less significant than a warning, which means a tsunami is imminent, or even a watch, which is used to alert emergency management officials of an event which may have a later impact.
Posted 4:06 p.m.:
As of 3:32 p.m., the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center was still evaluating the risk of a tsunami to Hawaii from a powerful earthquake off Chile.
According to the National Tsunami Warning Center, a tsunami was generated that could potentially impact the west coast of the mainland as well as Alaska and British Columbia. It said more information would be released as it becomes available.
As of 4:15 p.m. Hawaii time, eight strong aftershocks had been recorded off Chile.
The quakes ranged in magnitude from 5.2 to 6.2. The strongest occurred 12 minutes after the main shock, at a depth of 11 miles.
Posted at 3:11 p.m.:
A powerful earthquake struck off the northern coast of Chile at 1:47 p.m. Hawaii time.
At 2:35 p.m., the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Ewa Beach, Oahu, was still evaluating whether the tremor generated a Pacific-wide tsunami.
The earthquake occurred off Chile’s Tarapaca Region at a depth of 12 miles.
The center issued a tsunami warning and watch for areas of the Pacific in the region closer to the quake. Waves of about 6 feet were reportedly washing ashore in the area of the tremor.
The center said if a tsunami does reach Hawaii, the earliest it would arrive would be 3:24 a.m. tomorrow.
The area off the coast of Chile is one of the most geologically active regions in the world.
Chile was the location of a 9.5-magnitude earthquake in May 22, 1960 which generated a tsunami that devastated Hilo and killed 61 on the Big Island.
Today marks the 68th anniversary of another major tsunami in Hawaii.
That April 1, 1946 tsunami was generated by an 8.6-magnitude quake in the Aleutian Islands. It caused widespread damage in Hilo and killed 159 people in Hawaii and six in Alaska.
Other strong earthquakes in Chile included an 8.8 magnitude tremor in 2010 and an 8.5 magnitude temblor in 1922.