The Chilean government says at least five people have been killed and more than a million evacuated following a magnitude 8.3 earthquake.
A number of strong aftershocks were also felt.
The ‘quake struck off the coast near the region around Coquimbo, some 300 kilometres north of the capital Santiago.
Near to the epicentre, buildings were damaged and power supplies cut.
The ‘quake, the biggest to hit Chile since 2010, could be felt as far away as the Argentinian capital.
A Tsunami warning was initially put in place in some parts of the country and across the South Pacific.
The government has since cancelled the warning.
Heavy waves, some reaching heights of 4.5 metres, caused flooding in Chile’s coastal towns. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet says she will visit the worst hit areas.
“The most important thing today is to support the people, protect them, prevent any more deaths or injuries and to make sure all appropriate measures are put in place,” she said.
The government rapidly warned people living near the coast to leave their homes, anxious to avoid a repeat of 2010, when a slow reaction to an earthquake and subsequent tsunami resulted in hundreds of deaths.