The quake, registered at magnitude 8.8 on the Richter scale, caused buildings and bridges to collapse and led to power-black outs in parts of the Chilean capital, Santiago, 200 miles from the epicentre.
British experts said a tsunami was now radiating from the epicentre towards Hawaii and other settlements on the Pacific Ring of Fire. The tsunami’s ferocity is not yet known.
Due to hit Hilo in about 30 minutes.
The first waves hit Gambier Archipelago at 10:50 a.m EST and Tahiti at 12:50 p.m. EST but Tahiti’s seismological center said the waves were only 36 centimeters high.