SANTIAGO – Feb. 27 will forever be a day people remember in Chile. One of the strongest earthquakes that ever hit the country shook the central regions, devastating cities and causing a huge tidal wave. More than two million people were affected and 500 died.
03:34 – An earthquake of magnitude 8.8 struck central Chile, shaking the country for a full three minutes. The epicenter was recorded 200 miles southwest of Santiago, 22 miles below the surface of the Pacific Ocean. The earthquake was felt across six regions of Chile, affecting around 90% of the population.
03:55 – An aftershock of magnitude 6.6 was recorded 20 minutes after the initial quake.
04:10 – A tsunami triggered by seismic activity below sea level at the fault line reached Valparaíso.
04:30 – The tsunami reached Dichato, a coastal town in the south of Chile, with waves up to 10 m high.
05:00 – The tsunami reached the Juan Fernández Islands at over 5 m in height and killed at least eight people.
05:00 – Two aftershocks of magnitude 5.4 and 5.6 followed. Overall, 130 aftershocks were recorded in the week following the earthquake.
05:30 – The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning for Chile, Peru, and Ecuador. This was later extended to Colombia and Panama, while Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico were put on a watch alert.
08:30 – The last of the five tsunami wave surges were recorded in Maule region.
12:00 – Chile declared a state of emergency for Maule and Biobío regions.
14:00 – Armed forces began delivering supplies to the affected areas and to Dichoto.
15:30 – The first of the tsunami waves hit New Zealand. The wave was recorded at up to 2 m high in certain areas of the coast.
21:00 – The tsunami waves hit Hawaii.
Katie is a student from Exeter University where she is studying English Literature and Spanish. This year she is interning with Chile Today as part of her year abroad in Latin America. She believes in the importance of a global newsroom which spreads the news of the world to every corner and gives voice to the people.