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8.2 Quake Shakes Chile

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A powerful 8.2 magnitude earthquake hit Chile's northern coast last night, at 8:46 p.m. local time.

The quake with a depth of 12.5 miles, cut off power, caused small landslides and prompted a tsunami. There are believed to be five people dead. Over 900,000 citizens were evacuated. Approximately 300 female inmates escaped from an Iquique prison. According to El Mundo newspaper, the evacuated prisoners set the penitentiary on fire and fled. 39 of the convicts have been found, while police are on the hunt for the rest.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet commented earlier today, "The fact is, we will know the extent of the damage as time goes by and when we inspect the areas in the light of day...The country has faced these first emergency hours very well".

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center broadcasted several alerts, but cancelled all of them by this morning. Chile's geographic makeup is characterized by  volcanoes and fault lines wrapping around the Pacific Basin, that experiences recurring volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. An earthquake with last night's magnitude is capable of having much more disastrous effects.