7.0 earthquake off coast of Chile

A powerful earthquake struck Friday off the coast of Chile, throwing a scare into residents nearly a year after a massive temblor and tsunami wreaked death and destruction in the same region. There was no initial reports of casualties or damage, but media reports said the quake was felt in a wide area of central Chile, where some residents evacuated coastal areas as a precaution. The US Geological Survey and Chile's National Emergency Office (ONEMI) said the quake occurred in the Pacific some 70 kilometres (45 kilometres) from the city of Concepcion.

The USGS initially reported a major 7.0 magnitude, and later revised that to 6.8, which can still cause devastation.

The quake struck at 2005 GMT near a region in central Chile that was heavily damaged by an 8.8 magnitude earthquake and tsunami on February 27, 2010.

Rodrigo Ubilla, an Interior ministry official, said there were no casualties or damage to buildings reported and praised the "exemplary" reaction of the population, saying the people showed "maturity" after last year's

Last year's disaster led to more than 500 deaths and $30 billion dollars in damage, and led to an inquiry over the lack of a timely tsunami warning.