An earthquake of magnitude 7.1 has struck off the west coast of Chile, rocking the capital Santiago and generating at least two significant aftershocks.
No major damage was immediately apparent, according to an assessment by Chile’s emergency services. The Chilean Navy and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said the quake was not expected to cause a tsunami.
Chile’s state-run Codelco, one of the largest copper mining companies in the world, said its operations were unaffected.
The quake was centred 35 km west of the coastal city of Valparaiso at a shallow depth of 10 km below the seabed, the US Geological Survey said.
Chilean authorities initially ordered a preventative evacuation of the coastal area near Valparaiso, some 97 km west of Santiago, in case of a tsunami, but cancelled it shortly afterward.
A spokesman with the local government in Valparaiso said there were no reports of structural damage so far, but phone networks were down in some places.
A magnitude 7.1 quake is considered major and is capable of causing widespread and heavy damage, but the effects of this one would have been tempered because it was offshore.
At least two aftershocks of magnitudes 5.0 and 5.4 were recorded in the same spot and could be felt in Santiago.
Chile, located on the so-called “Pacific Ring of Fire,” has a long history of deadly quakes, including a 8.8 magnitude quake in 2010 off the south-central coast, which also triggered a tsunami that devastated coastal towns. More than 500 people died.