Updated: Small surges from 8.2 earthquake off Chile hitting Crescent City

Mild surges of 3 to 4 inches from Tuesday's magnitude-8.2 off Chile started hitting Crescent City at 10 a.m. today, according to HSU geology professor Lori Dengler. Humboldt Bay level changes are basically none existent. No damage is expected. Maui and Hilo, Hawaii, are experiencing surges of 1.5 feet.

Some minor sea level changes due to the magnitude-8.2 quake off Northern Chile were expected to hit the North Coast late last night or early this morning, officials said Tuesday.

"I would say if you live on land and don't go out into the ocean, there's no threat," National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Carroll said. "If you're a surfer or a diver or something like that, you may want to pay a little bit more attention to the fluctuation and possible stronger currents."

Humboldt State University geology professor Lori Dengler said the fault that caused the tsunami in Chile was oriented in a north-south direction with the maximum energy headed toward New Zealand.

"The tsunami energy is just not headed in our direction," Dengler said. "It doesn't look like it was a really big tsunami either."

She said the 2011 tsunami in Japan was 4 feet deep in the ocean, according to deep ocean sensors, while the one that just occurred in Chile was less than a foot deep.

"But it's really early right now in terms of trying to get an assessment of what have may actually happened," she added.

A powerful earthquake set off a small tsunami that forced evacuations along Chile's entire Pacific coast. Officials reported two deaths and several serious injuries, but the area apparently escaped major damage and casualties as landslides blocked roads, power failed for thousands, an airport was damaged and several businesses caught fire.

The heavily seismic area sent a similar dose of mild tidal surges to the North Coast in February 2010 after a tsunami generated by a magnitude-8.8 earthquake in Chile put most of the Pacific Ocean region on alert.

The U.S. Geological Survey initially reported the quake at 8.0, but later upgraded the magnitude. It said the quake struck 61 miles northwest of Iquique at 8:46 p.m., hitting a region that has been rocked by numerous quakes over the past two weeks.

The quake was so strong that the shaking experienced in Bolivia's capital, about 290 miles away, was the equivalent of a 4.5-magnitude tremor, authorities there said.

More than 10 strong aftershocks followed in the first few hours, including a 6.2 tremor. More aftershocks and even a larger quake could not be ruled out, said seismologist Mario Pardo at the University of Chile.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Lorna Rodriguez can be reached at 441-0506 or lrodriguez@times-standard.com. Follow her on Twitter @LornaARodriguez.