A POWERFUL 6.6 magnitude earthquake has rocked Chile – the latest major tremors to shake the South American nation.

The quake struck offshore Bio-Bio and 158.88km northwest of Lebu, the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) has confirmed. Its epicentre was near Concepcion, Provincia de Concepción, Region del Biobio in Chile. The EMSC added it was at a depth of 2km. Shallow earthquakes are often felt more strongly than deeper ones as they are closer to the surface.

The Volcano Discovery website has reported its monitoring service identified a second report from France’s Réseau National de Surveillance Sismique (RéNaSS) which listed the quake at magnitude 5.4.

It added based on initial seismic data, the quake will likely have been widely felt by almost everyone in the area of the epicentre.

The quake may also have caused “light to moderate damage”.

The earthquake struck at a shallow depth of 11km beneath the epicentre on Monday morning at 8:58am local time.

A second report was later issued by the United States Geological Survey, which also listed the quake as magnitude 4.4.

Towns or cities which likely felt tremors included Talcahuano 84km away from the epicentre, Arauco 85km away, Coronel 87km away, Lota 88km away and Concepcion 90km away, according to website Volcano Discovery.