A powerful earthquake struck the west coast of Chile on Monday (24 April), rocking the country but causing no major damage.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) initially reported the quake with a magnitude of 7.1, but later downgraded it to 6.9.

It struck at 6.30pm local time (9.30pm GMT) and was centered 22 miles (35 km) west of Valparaiso, at a depth of 6.2 miles below the sea.

"It was short but very powerful," Paloma Salamo, a 26-year-old nurse who worked in a clinic near Valparaiso, told Reuters.

She said that people ran out of the facility carrying children as the tsunami alarm sounded.

Authorities also urged residents to evacuate coastal cities as a precaution against seismic sea waves, but calm was quickly restored when the order was withdrawn as no waves were reported.

"We have no reports of victims or significant damage," Interior Minister Mario Fernandez told Reuters.

"There have been some landslides in some places, without major complications.

"In general the situation is pretty normal bearing in mind the quake's intensity."

Chile lies on what is known as the "Ring of Fire" β€”an arc of faults with a long history of causing deadly earthquakes.

More than 500 people died in 2010 when a quake with a magnitude of 8.8 struck and was followed by a tsunami in central and south Chile.

In 2015, 15 people were killed when an 8.3-magnitude quake hit the north of the country.