SANTIAGO, Chile, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Parts of the United States and Easter Island faced tsunami warnings Saturday after an 8.8-magnitude earthquake took place in Chile, experts said.
British experts told The Daily Telegraph the quake created a tsunami of unknown ferocity that already devastated the Juan Fernandez Islands and is heading towards Pacific Ocean islands such as Hawaii and Easter Island.
The earthquake emanating from an epicenter nearly 200 miles from Santiago, Chile, was followed by a series of aftershocks that ranged in magnitude from 5.6 to 6.9.
"This is largest earthquake to strike central Chile since a magnitude 6.7 earthquake in 2001," Dr. Brian Baptie of the British Geological Survey's Head of Seismology told the Telegraph.
The Honolulu Star Bulletin said Hawaii residents have been urged to avoid the ocean and follow emergency broadcasts in the wake of a tsunami warning being issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii.
A similar warning was issued by a National Weather Service center in Palmer, Alaska. The tsunami warning from the U.S. center was for coastal areas in California, as well as coastal areas in Alaska, Oregon and Washington.