An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.7 has struck southwest of the city of Puerto Montt in southern Chile, according to the United States Geological Survey.

The agency put the quake’s magnitude at 7.7 and said it struck at 11:22 am local time near the southern tip of Chiloé Island, about 25 miles (40km) southwest of Puerto Quellón city and at a depth of 20 miles (33km). The area, about 140 miles (225km) from Puerto Montt, is relatively sparsely populated.
Chile’s naval oceanographic service declared a preventative tsunami alert and officials began evacuating coastal areas in the southern part of the country. READ MORE