Earthquakes are not uncommon in Chile, but a particularly massive one struck not far off its coast last night.
The 8.3-magnitude earthquake prompted the evacuation of around one million people and left at least eight dead, The New York Times reports. About 243,000 homes also lost power.
A tsunami warning was issued and subsequently lifted, but flooding still occurred in some cities, causing significant damage in places like Coquimbo.
According to #Chile National Emergency Office, the #tsunami warning has been lifted for the entire Chilean coast. @cnni — Derek Van Dam (@VanDamCNN) September 17, 2015
8.3 magnitude #earthquake that struck #Chile causes flooding, damage, tsunami concerns and big aftershocks. pic.twitter.com/rhEG2dlUnv — Preston Phillips (@10NewsPhillips) September 17, 2015
Chile's coastline is 2,690 miles, making natural disasters like this particularly problematic.
The quake struck at roughly 7:54 pm and around 177 miles north of Chile's capital, Santiago. It was reportedly so strong, people could feel it all the way in São Paulo, Brazil -- over 2,000 miles away.
After last night's quake, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet reportedly stated,
Once again we have to confront a tough blow from nature.
Correspondingly, in 2010, Chile was struck with a devastating 8.8-magnitude earthquake that caused a tsunami and left over 500 dead. At least 81 of those deaths were allegedly attributed to the fact officials failed to issue a tsunami warning.
This helps explain why officials were so vigilant with the quake last night and ordered an immediate evacuation.