A magnitude-6.7 earthquake shook buildings and broke some windows in northern Chile but officials discounted the possibility of a tsunami and reported no major damage.
The US Geological Survey said the quake struck at 4.15pm local time (2015 GMT) and was centred 27 miles north of Vallenar.
The quake shook the capital, Santiago, causing office buildings to sway, but was felt most powerfully in the north where state television showed images of groceries scattered on supermarket floors and broken windows in several homes in Vallenar, Copiapo and other nearby cities.
Witnesses described people running from buildings into the streets in panic. Telephone lines were jammed and electricity lines were temporarily down.
But Chile's Emergency Office said no injuries have been reported and damages to infrastructure appear minimal. The oceanographic service discounted the possibility of a tsunami.
Chile is one of the earthquake-prone countries in the world.
A devastating 8.8-magnitude quake in 2010, one of the strongest recorded, and the tsunami it unleashed killed 551 people, destroyed 220,000 homes and washed away docks, river fronts and seaside resorts. The disaster cost Chile 30 billion US dollars (£19 billion), or 18% of its annual gross domestic product.