Sunday, Feb. 28
Japan lowers the country's tsunami warning | 5:17 a.m. ET
NBC News reports that Japan's meteorological society has downgraded the warning for the country's north coast from high risk -- which is issued when waves of at least 3 meters are expected -- to a regular warning.
Pacific-wide tsunami warning lifted | 5:04 a.m. ET
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center cancels its widespread alert after smaller-than-expected waves hit Japan and Russia. Earlier, experts had issued a warning for 53 countries and regions in the area.
Tsunami warning lifted in Kamchatka Peninsula | 1:14 a.m. ET
The feared tsunamis rolled across the Pacific Saturday and Sunday but -- so far -- have amounted to very little.
Authorities in Russia's far eastern Kamchatka region lifted a tsunami alert after a series of small waves appeared to cause no damage, a spokeswoman for the Emergencies Ministry said. Earlier, it was reported that a 30-inch wave struck the peninsula.
Saturday, Feb. 27
First tsunami waves strike Japan | 11:26 p.m. ET
The Associated Press reports that first tsunami from Chile's distant earthquake has struck Japan's outlying islands, but the initial waves are small -- very small.
Japan's Meteorological Agency said the first tsunami was recorded in the Ogasawara islands early Sunday afternoon. It was just 10 centimeters (4 inches) high.
Officials said bigger waves could follow and maintained their alerts, the AP reported. Hours earlier, a tsunami warning was canceled for the Hawaiian Islands.
Chile earthquake photos from Twitter | 9 p.m. ET
Philippines orders limited evacuation | 8:48 p.m. ET
"At 7 a.m. today, we raised the tsunami alert to level 2 and People are advised to stay away from beaches and to report unusual big waves in their areas," Renato Solidum, director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, told Reuters.
"There's only limited evacuation in some areas where communities are near the water," he said, adding local officials have the authority to force residents to move to safer areas.
And in Australia, the possibility of a tsunami apparently didn't deter beach-goers, according to newspaper reports.
Tsunami advisory cancelled for Washington state coast | 8:30 p.m. ET
Death toll following Chile earthquake continues to rise | 8:07 p.m. ET
Person Finder: Chile Earthquake (http://chilepersonfinder.appspot.com/) is a simple application that allows users to enter the name of either a person who is missing or enter information about a person's known location. There is no charge for the service.
Msnbc.com correspondent Suzanne Choney reports that communications systems in Chile, a much more technologically advanced country than Haiti, are strained but still functioning for many in the wake of the
"There's a problem with communication quality and overload, for which we only ask people to use the phone if it's completely necessary," Cortázar is quoted as saying in Argentina's Buenos Aires Herald newspaper. "We only ask people to use the phone if it's completely necessary."
Volunteers from the nonprofit group, Télécoms Sans Frontières (Telecommunications Without Borders), which also helped in Haiti after the Jan. 12 quake there, are on their way to Chile, Paul Paul Margie, U.S. representative for the nonprofit group told msnbc.com.
Are earthquakes getting worse? | 6:44 p.m. ET
Chile is on a hotspot of sorts for earthquake activity, according to a Live Science report. And so the 8.8-magnitude temblor that shook the region overnight was not a surprise, historically speaking. Nor was it outside the realm of normal, scientists say, even though it comes on the heels of other major earthquakes.
One scientist, however, says that relative to the time period from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, Earth has been more active over the past 15 years or so.
The Chilean earthquake, and the tsunami it spawned, originated on a hot spot known as a subduction zone, where one plate of Earth's crust dives under another. It's part of the active "Ring of Fire," a zone of major crustal plate clashes that surround the Pacific Ocean.
"This particular subduction zone has produced very damaging earthquakes throughout is history," said Randy Baldwin, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey.
The largest quake ever recorded, magnitude 9.5, occurred along the same fault zone in May 1960.
Even so, magnitude-8 earthquakes occur globally, on average, just once a year. Since magnitudes are given on a logarithmic scale, an 8.8-magnitude is much more intense than a magnitude 8, and so this event would be even rarer, said J. Ramón Arrowsmith, a geologist at Arizona State University.
"Relative to the 20-year period from the mid-1970s to the mid 1990s, the Earth has been more active over the past 15 or so years," said Stephen S. Gao, a geophysicist at Missouri University of Science and Technology. "We still do not know the reason for this yet. Could simply be the natural temporal variation of the stress field in the earth's lithosphere." (The lithosphere is the outer solid part of the Earth.)
Hawaii 'dodges a bullet' | 6:04 p.m. ET
An official at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center tells the Associated Press that Hawaii "dodged a bullet" after a major earthquake sent powerful waves roiling around the Pacific.
It still will be about an hour before officials will be willing to give an all-clear in Hawaii, but there were no immediate reports of major damage around the Pacific rim. just tidal surges that reached up to about seven feet in some island chains.
Gerard Fryer, a geophysist for the tsunami center, defended the decision to urge evacuations of coastal areas, saying "better safe than sorry."
Barry Hirshorn, a geophysicist with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center tells NBC News that they are not seeing the water levels dropping - which is why the tsunami warning is still in effect. There are multiple waves that are still rolling in and the largest waves may not have arrived yet.