Santiago: A strong 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck Chile on Saturday but there was no tsunami alert, seismologists said.
The quake hit the central Coquimbo region at a depth of 36 kilometres (22 miles) at 4:31 am (0731 GMT), the US Geological Survey (USGS) said, but the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre did not issue an alert.
The epicentre was close to the coast, 47 kilometres from the northern city of Ovalle and nearly 300 kilometres north of Chile’s capital Santiago. Chile is no stranger to earthquakes.
In September, the same area of the country was hit by an 8.3-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that left 15 dead and over 16,000 homeless.
Chile lies on what is known as the “Ring of Fire” — an arc of fault lines that circles the Pacific Basin and is prone to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
The country has long put in place anti seismic engineering systems, applying a technique known as seismic isolation, or base isolation to protect buildings from the earth’s judders.