Magnitude 6.4 quake hits western Argentina, close to Chile
A magnitude 6.4 quake has hit western Argentina, northeast of Santiago, the capital of neighbouring Chile, the US Geological Survey says.
The quake's epicentre was 25.75 km southwest of the Argentine town of San Juan, and about 290 km northeast of Santiago in Chile.
The shake was initially reported as a magnitude 6.7 but was later downgraded.
Although a magnitude 6.4 is considered a strong earthquake capable of causing severe damage, it was fairly deep - 115.71 km below the Earth's surface, which would have lessened its effects.
There were no preliminary reports of damage to people, infrastructure or basic services.
Alejandro Giuliano, director of Argentina's seismic institute, said there were no preliminary reports of damage but added that he "could not rule out that poorly built constructions near the epicentre had suffered some damage."
Though the quake "feels strong it is (actually) of moderate magnitude," Giuliano said.
Situated on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," Chile runs along a seismic zone where tectonic plates rub up against each other. It is one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world, and in 1960 was hit by a 9.5 magnitude quake, the strongest in recorded history.
In recent years, the biggest quake to hit Chile was an 8.8 magnitude tremor that struck the central-southern region in 2010, triggering a tsunami and killing more than 500 people.
Practice drills are frequent in Chile, and builders follow strict construction codes, all of which tends to limit death and destruction when quakes hit.