Uwe Paschen, thanks for getting this story out so quickly. It will now show up on the home page for four hours. If new developments justify it, I'll renew this flag for another cycle.
Earthquake In Chile, Tsunami warning for Chile,Peru & Australia.
The earthquake struck 90-km Northeast of Concepcion at a depth of 59-km at 3:34-am local time (06:43 GMT). Its magnitude was reported at 8.3 and 8.5, then fixed by the USGS at 8.8.
So far six people are reported dead due to this massive earthquake.
50 years ago, a Tsunami generated by a similar massive earthquake in Chile reached Japan 22.5 hours after the earthquake. If this was to happen again with this earthquake, then the Tsunami would reach Japan tomorrow by 14:00 hours Japan time.
There are two systems by which we measure an earthquake, called intensity and magnitude. Here in Japan we use the first one where as the USGS uses the latter. The two systems are very different from one another, Causing some confusion at times.
"The first one, the Intensity is based on the observed effects of ground shaking on people, buildings, and natural features. It varies from place to place within the disturbed region depending on the location of the observer with respect to the earthquake epicentre."
"Where as the second method, the Magnitude is related to the amount of seismic energy released at the hypocenter of the earthquake. It is based on the amplitude of the earthquake waves recorded on instruments which have a common calibration. The magnitude of an earthquake is thus represented by a single, instrumentally determined value."
Although the Richter Scale has no upper limit, the largest known chock waves have had magnitudes in the 8.8 to 8.9 range. Putting this particular earthquake in Chile today in one of the most devastating once in recorded history.
Update: 22:00 Japan time.
The death tool is reported to be 78 now, the final count can not be expected before some time though and if the earthquake generates as much damage as the 1960 earthquake that struck Chile, then the number of casualties may yet increase to catastrophic levels.
NHK and Kyoto news report that The Japan Meteorological Agency is investigating the possibility of a tsunami reaching Japan as well.
Another Tsunami alert has just been issued for Australia, just north of Sydney to just north of Brisbane, a region that includes several resort areas, including the Gold Coast.
"Dangerous, localised flooding of the immediate foreshore" from 8.45 am Sunday morning local time (2145 GMT Saturday).
Tsunami Update: 23:20 Japan time.
More Tsunami warnings are still being issued such as for Hawaii,where the first wave is expected to arrive at 11:19-am local time.
Meanwhile the EU has immediately activated the Crisis Room at the Commission's Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC), which is working with the European Union's delegation in Santiago. ECHO, the European crisis response team has been mobilised as well.
Japan still has most of its rescue teams deployed to the 7.0 magnitude quake that was measured at a depth of 22km and was centred 81km east-southeast of Naha in Okinawa on Saturday, this one just happened prior to the Chile earthquake.
Update: 07:40 Hours Japan Time.
NHK the Japanese Broadcaster interviewed the Japanese seismologist Fumihiko Imamura of Japan's Tohoku University who warned Japanese citizens that a tsunami could still be powerful, not loosing its strength. So far Japan has not raised its Tsunami advisory to warning though.
"There is the possibility that it could reach Japan without losing its strength," Imamura said.
After a 9.5-magnitude quake struck the country off Chile in 1960, the tsunami generated by that earthquake, killed 140 people in Japan, 61 in Hawaii and 32 in the Philippines. According to Japan's Meteorological Agency,
Another advisory, (not a warning) for a Tsunami was issued for B.C. in Canada,
Elliott Yamin is reporting from the Chile earthquake via Twitter, You can follow Yamin on Twitter.
In the mean time little is still known as to the extend of the damage and the number of victims in Chile it self. However, most seem to brace for the worst. The deadliest earthquake of modern times was recorded in 1556 in central China. More than 830,000 people were reported killed in that quake, which had an estimated magnitude of 8. Similar in strength to the this latest earthquake in Chile.