An earthquake with an initial magnitude of 8.8 has hit Chile. Early reports of buildings having collapsed and communications disrupted. Tsunami warning issued as far as Australia.

Update#7. Almost all countries in the Pacific have been issued a warning, including New Zealand, Tonga, Samoa, Hawaii and as far as Russia and Japan.

There has been no contact with the Chilean city of Concepcion, a coastal area home to more than 600,000 people which is under 100 kilometres from the quake epicentre.

Update#6. 40 meter wave tsunami hits Juan Fernandez islands 600 kilometers off Chile and keeps on travelling towards Hawaii. The islands have a population of around 700 people. If the size of the wave is confirmed, total devastation a possibility. CNN in reporting over 25 aftershocks recorded in Chile.

Update #5. Tsunami warning issued for east coast of Australia. Wave could arrive at 8:45AM Sunday morning Sydney Time.

Update #4. Death toll rises to 47.

Update #3. Death toll now reported by Chilean TV at 16.

First video of damage courtesy of BBC.

Update #2. President of Chile, Michele Bachelet warns of high death toll.
We have had a huge earthquake. We're doing everything we can with all the forces we have. Any information we will share immediately.
Commenting on earlier reports of deaths, Bachelet said.
without a doubt, with an earthquake of this magnitude, there will be more deaths.
Update #1. Tsunami Bulletin for Hawaii.

First reports indicate at least six deaths.

This earthquake follows a 7.0 magnitude near the Ryukyu Islands in Japan less than 12 hours prior to the Chile earthquake.

The earthquake struck Saturday February 27, 2010 at 06:34 UTC, (01:34AM Toronto time, 8:34PM Friday Hawaii time and 5:34PM Saturday in Sydney Australia)

The epicenter was located 325 km (200 miles) SW of the capital Santiago at a depth of 35 km (21.7 miles) .

Reports of damage are preliminary as communications have been disrupted in Chile.

A Tsunami (Tidal Wave) warning has been issued by the US Geological Survey. Tsunami warnings have already been issued for Hawaii.

Should a Tsunami occur, the expected time of impact in Hawaii is estimated to be 11:19AM Hawaii time on Saturday.

More to follow.