Strong 6.8-magnitude quake rocks Chile, no tsunami alert issued

Santiago (AFP) - A strong 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck Chile early on Saturday (Oct 7), but there was no tsunami alert, seismologists said.

A handout shake map provided by the US Geological Survey (USGS) on Nov 7 2015. PHOTO: EPA

The quake hit the central Coquimbo region at a depth of 36km at 4.31am local times, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said, but the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre did not issue an alert.

The epicentre was close to the coast, 47km from the northern city of Ovalle and nearly 300km 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 antiseismic engineering systems, applying a technique known as seismic isolation, or base isolation to protect buildings from the earth's judders.