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Chile earthquake: Scientists studying impact on California coast

Chile earthquake: Scientists studying impact on California coast
A National Tsunami Warning Center map shows forecasted wave amplitudes and tsunami energy propagation. (USGS)

Officials don't expect any tsunamis in California because of the magnitude 8.0 earthquake that hit off the west coast of Chile but said they are still trying to get a precise handle on the forecast.

Officials at the National Tsunami Warning Center in Alaska said scientists are still running forecast models on whether a tsunami would threaten the U.S. West Coast.

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"We still have a good 11 hours of travel time, anyway, for it to reach Southern California," said Bill Knight, a tsunami expert at the National Tsunami Warning Center. "We'll be issuing messages on the hour."

No tsunami warning would probably be issued for California "unless we see something we don't expect," Paul Whitmore, director of the U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center, told the Los Angeles Times.

A magnitude 8.0 earthquake has already generated 6-foot-high tsunami waves in Chile, Whitmore said.

"Yes, that could do a lot of damage" in Chile, Whitmore said. "Once a tsunami gets going, a large-sized one, it will continue for hours, if not days."

"The danger will only decrease after the first six hours," Whitmore said. "They're long-lasting events.

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