SANTIAGO – A massive earthquake has struck off the coast of Chile, triggering a tsunami warning.

The 7.7-magnitude quake hit 140 miles south-west of the city of Puerto Montt on Christmas Day, the United States Geological Survey said. Its depth was about 15km (10 miles).

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said hazardous waves were possible on coasts located up to 1,000km from the quake’s epicentre.

The latest quake comes after an 8.3-magnitude quake hit the country in September last year, leaving 13 dead and causing a million people to leave their homes.

Previously, an 8.8-magnitude quake had hit Chile in 2010, which had devastated large areas of the country and killed more than 500 people.

Chile frequently experiences quakes due to its position along the boundary between the Nazca and South American tectonic plates.

These are vast slabs of the Earth’s surface that run past each other at a rate of up to 80mm per year.

This is a developing story…