Breaking News -- Earthquakes, Famines, Pestilence and Disasters

Middle East European Union Israel Germany Earthquakes, Disasters what's new  
United Kingdom Far East United States Russia   home breaking news
Powerful earthquake strikes off Chile, triggers tsunami
by Dana Ford and Saeed Ahmed, CNN

(CNN) -- A mighty 8.2-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of northern Chile late Tuesday, triggering small landslides, cutting power and generating a tsunami.

Four men and one woman died -- two who suffered heart attacks and three who were crushed, said Interior Minister Rodrigo Penailillo.

About 300 prisoners escaped from the northern port city of Iquique in the immediate aftermath, he said.

The quake struck about 8:46 p.m. local time, some 60 miles northwest of Iquique. It had a depth of 12.5 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

Chile's National Emergency Office asked coastal residents to evacuate.

"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," Chile's President Michelle Bachelet said early Wednesday. "The country has faced these first emergency hours very well."

Chile quake causes 7 ft. tsunami waves

Residents in the port city of Antofagasta walked calmly through the streets to higher ground as traffic piled up in places.

"Many people are fearful after experiencing the powerful earthquake in 2010, so they immediately fled for higher ground when they heard the tsunami warning," said Fabrizio Guzman, World Vision emergency communications manager in Chile.

"There have been multiple aftershocks and communications have been cut off in many of the affected areas. So people are waiting in the dark hills not knowing what is to come, and hoping they will be able to return to their homes safely."

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued several tsunami warnings, but canceled all of them by early Wednesday. Tsunami watches, which initially extended as far north as Mexico's Pacific coast, were called off as well.

Tsunami waves of more than 6 feet generated by the earthquake washed ashore on the coast of Pisagua, according to Victor Sardino, with the center.

Iquique, with a population of more than 200,000, saw 7-foot waves.

Danger averted

An earthquake of the scale that struck Tuesday night is capable of wreaking tremendous havoc.

So, if the initial reports stand, Chile may have dodged a major catastrophe.

Landslides damaged roads in some regions. Power and phone outages were reported in others.

Chile is on the so-called "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanoes and fault lines circling the Pacific Basic that is prone to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

On March 16, a 6.7-magnitude earthquake struck 37 miles west-northwest of Iquique. A 6.1-magnitude hit the same area a week later.

Expert: Tsunami waves move like a jet

About 500 people were killed when an 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck Chile on February 27, 2010. That quake triggered a tsunami that toppled buildings, particularly in the Maule region along the coast.

According to researchers, the earthquake was violent enough to move the Chilean city of Concepcion at least 10 feet westward and Santiago about 11 inches to the west-southwest.

This was big but a bigger one awaits, scientist says

'No hazards' to U.S. coastline

The U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center worked Tuesday to determine the level of danger for Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California, as well as Canada's British Columbia.

Gerard Fryer, a geophysicist with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, told CNN there is "clearly not going to be any hazards to the coastline of North America."

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning for Hawaii, saying strong currents may pose a hazard to swimmers and boaters.

What you need to know about earthquakes

Measuring the magnitude of earthquakes

The place where two earthquakes hit every hour

CNN's Erica Harrington, Dave Alsup and Greg Botelho contributed to this report.

Yellowstone bison predicted an earthquake?
Bri Winkler

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Do animals have a sixth sense for detecting natural disasters before they hit?

Though scientists have been hard-pressed to prove it, a recent online video of bison stampeding down a highway in Yellowstone National Park has set off rumors across the Internet.

A 4.8-magnitude earthquake struck the park on Sunday - the strongest tremor the park has felt since 1980. No damage or injuries were reported, but the video, which claims that the herd could feel the quake before it happened, sparked fear of an impending volcanic eruption.

The video - captioned "Alert! Yellowstone Buffalo Running for Their Lives - was posted on YouTube more than a week before the quake hit. It appears to be fake, but given the fact that Yellowstone is sitting on what's called a super volcano, a lot of people believed it.

So much so that Yellowstone officials put out their own video hoping to dispel the myth.

"We get some pretty wild rumors out there," Yellowstone spokesman Al Nash said.

Bison, elk and other animals have moved out of the park, but mostly because of the changing seasons, Nash said.

"They tend to migrate outside the park to lower elevations where they think there's something to eat that's easier to get at," Nash said.

On the other hand, a three-year German study of ants living in mounds on a fault line showed that the ants moved out of their mounds right before earthquakes measuring 2.0 and up. There were 10 such earthquakes and the ants temporarily departed all 10 times.

Ants, however, are a little harder to see than a charging herd of bison, but seem to be a bit more accurate.

CNN's Jeanne Moos contributed to this report.

Ebola Virus & Outbreak In West Africa: Deadly, Contagious Disease Spreads To Libera, Sierro Leone; 80 Deaths So Far
by Matt Tracy

The recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa has raised concerns about its potential to spread even further as the death toll continues to rise.

As many as 125 people in at least three countries have contracted the disease, according to the World Health Organization, and at least 80 people have died.

"Every day we're reading about it in the newspaper, hearing about it on the radio, and wondering when it's going to come here," Mossa Bau, of Dakar, Senegal, said to USA Today. "Everyone is very scared because, really, it's a dangerous disease and no one has the means to stop it."

According to reports, the Ebola outbreak initially was limited to some towns in South Guinea, but it has since spread quickly. At least one person in Libera, which neighbors Guinea, is said to have died already. The USA Today also said that at least five people have died from Ebola in Sierra Leone as well.

One of the reasons why the outbreak has sparked such concern at this point is because it is extremely contagious and deadly.

A number of people and groups have been mobilizing with a goal of stopping the outbreak. Ester Sterk, who serves as a doctor for Doctors Without Borders, stressed the importnce of isolation when it comes to preventing the disease from spreading.

"It's very important that sick patients be isolated and receive treatment in isolation wards, and also if there are people that have been in contact with patients when they were sick, they need to be closely followed during the period of incubation (which lasts between two and 21 days)," she said, according to USA Today. "This is to cut the so-called transmission chain."

What do you think about the outbreak? Do you think it will be contained soon? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
(Disclaimer)        What to Look For in World Events:  Audio & Text  Video