A 6.5-magnitude earthquake has struck near the Chilean capital, causing hundreds of people to flee from buildings in Santiago in panic.
There were no immediate reports of major damage or injuries following the quake, which shook central Chile just minutes before midnight local time on Monday (3:50 GMT on Tuesday).
Authorities ordered a preventative evacuation of a stretch of the country’s coastline after the quake, ordering people to move to higher ground from the city of Constitucion to Tongoy, north of Santiago.
The quake could be felt for almost a minute in the port city of Valparaiso, as well as in the capital, where it knocked out power and telephone service in some parts of the city.
Chile’s state copper giant Codelco told the Reuters news agency that there were no initial reports of problems in the mining firm’s central Chilean mines either.
According to the US Geological Survey, the tremor struck 116km northwest of Santiago at a depth of 25.9km.
Chile is highly earthquake-prone. A 7.1-magnitude quake struck central Chile on March 25, the strongest and longest that many people said they had felt since a huge tremor devastated the region two years ago.
In February 2010, tsunamis and an 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck Chile’s central south, ravaging local infrastructure and industries but leaving mines in the far north untouched.