A 7.7-magnitude quake struck at 9:22am EST at a depth of 33 kilometers some 40 km southwest of Puerto Quellon in southern Chile on Sunday, the United States Geological Survey said.
The quake prompted a tsunami threat message by the Tsunami Warning Center for areas as far as 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) from the epicenter.
Tsunami Info Stmt: M7.7 in southern Chile— NWS Tsunami Alerts (@NWS_NTWC) December 25, 2016
0622PST Dec 25: Tsunami NOT expected; CA,OR,WA,BC,and AK
Reuters adds that Chile has ordered the evacuation of southern coastal areas after the quake.
Chile orders evacuation of southern coastal areas after quake— Reuters India (@ReutersIndia) December 25, 2016
Chile's National Emergency Office (Onemi) said there were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries. Onemi chief Ricardo Toro called on Los Lagos residents to go to safe zones and abandon beaches.
The first tidal waves were expected to arrive at the shoreline in the Los Lagos area at 1 p.m. local time (11.00 a.m. ET), Onemi said.
According to media reports, the quake was felt in the southwest Argentine city of Bariloche.
Chile 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.
According to Reuters, Fishing and agriculture company Empresas AquaChile SA said its employees in the watch zone had been evacuated and were safe, adding that there was no damage to its facilities. Alamiro Vera, owner of the Cabanas Hotel in the southern port city of Quellon, said the quake was strong, but did not see any structural damage.
"There was a lot, a lot of movement here, but besides that nothing of note, there weren't houses falling," Vera said. "It was just scary, and some things inside fell."
Chile 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 town.