The authorities said in Santiago that the quake hit at 1726 GMT near the city of Chanaral in Chile’s north-central Atacama region, about 800 kilometres north of the capital, Santiago.
It said that the quake collapsed part of the highway connecting the region to Santiago, and caused minor damage to some buildings in Chanaral’s historic centre.
Onemi said that the Chile’s seismology centre initially measured the quake at magnitude 6.1 on the Richter scale, while the U.S. Geological Survey measured it at magnitude 6.2.
The greatest shaking was reported in the towns of Copiapo and Tierra Amarilla, Onemi said.
Chanaral and the neighbouring city of Diego de Almagro closed schools pending an assessment of damage, officials said.