Phivolcs monitors possible tsunami threat in 20 provinces

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  • An 8.3-magnitude quake struck off Chile's coast on Thursday morning (September 17), Manila time
  • If ever a tsunami threat occurs in the Philippines, it will happen 24 hours after the quake, Phivolcs says
  • Coastal communities in 20 provinces were told to monitor advisories

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Coastal communities facing the Pacific Ocean were told on Thursday (September 17) to monitor advisories by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) in case it issues a tsunami warning.

The agency is monitoring changes in the sea-level following a powerful 7.9-magnitude quake off the coast of Chile at 6:55 a.m., Manila time.

The earthquake was later upgraded to an 8.3-magnitude quake by the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

There is no evacuation order as of this writing, but communities situated along the coast of the following provinces were told to "wait and listen for updates”:

  • Batanes Group of Islands
  • Cagayan
  • Ilocos Norte
  • Isabela
  • Quezon
  • Aurora
  • Camarines Norte
  • Camarines Sur
  • Albay
  • Catanduanes
  • Sorsogon
  • Northern Samar
  • Eastern Samar
  • Leyte
  • Southern Leyte
  • Surigao del Norte
  • Surigao del Sur
  • Davao Oriental
  • Davao del Sur
  • Davao Occidental

Dandy Camero, a science research assistant of Phivolcs, told CNN Philippines that a tsunami could arrive 24 hours after the quake, according to the agency's simulations. But whether or not a tsunami would indeed occur is still uncertain.

Phivolcs explained that a 7.9-magnitude earthquake "has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines in the region near the epicenter within minutes to hours."

The quake's epicenter was about 54 kilometers west of Illapel, Chile, according to the preliminary assessment by the USGS.

Chile's Interior Minister Jorge Burgos said there were reports of damage to homes in the city of Illapel.

CNN reported that large tsunami waves were observed along the Chilean coast, near the quake's epicenter. Waves measuring one to three meters above the tide level were also forecast by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) along some coasts of Chile.

Related: Chile earthquake: 8.3-magnitude quake strikes off coast

Coastal evacuations were started by Chile's national emergency agency as the threat of tsunami looms

In the Philippines, the waves are forecast by the PTWC to be less than 0.3 meters above the tide level.