Epicenter of Chile earthquake, courtesy USGS

Epicenter of Chile earthquake, courtesy USGS

HONOLULU, Hawaii – The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says that a magnitude 7.0 earthquake off the coast of Chile did not generate a tsunami that would be a threat to Hawaii.

The earthquake struck at 11:17 a.m. HST on Sunday 38 miles northwest of Iquiue, Chile, according to the United States Geological Survey.

From the PTWC:

Based on all available data a destructive pacific-wide tsunami is not expected and there is no tsunami threat to Hawaii. Repeat. A destructive pacific-wide tsunami is not expected and there is no tsunami threat to Hawaii.Pacific Tsunami Warning Center on March 16, 2014 at 11:23 a.m. HST

The coast of Chile is a geologically active region and has sent tsunamis in the direction of Hawaii Island in the past. The USGS explains why in its tectonic summary.

The South American arc extends over 7,000 km, from the Chilean margin triple junction offshore of southern Chile to its intersection with the Panama fracture zone, offshore of the southern coast of Panama in Central America. It marks the plate boundary between the subducting Nazca plate and the South America plate, where the oceanic crust and lithosphere of the Nazca plate begin their descent into the mantle beneath South America. The convergence associated with this subduction process is responsible for the uplift of the Andes Mountains, and for the active volcanic chain present along much of this deformation front. Relative to a fixed South America plate, the Nazca plate moves slightly north of eastwards at a rate varying from approximately 80 mm/yr in the south to approximately 65 mm/yr in the north. Although the rate of subduction varies little along the entire arc, there are complex changes in the geologic processes along the subduction zone that dramatically influence volcanic activity, crustal deformation, earthquake generation and occurrence all along the western edge of South America.USGS on March 16, 2014