The earthquake, which was recorded at 12:15 p.m. PT, was reportedly felt in at least 20 cities.
The epicenter was reported to be 28.168S 70.804W; or 63 miles south-southwest of Copiapo, Chile; 127 miles north-northeast of Coquimbo, Chile; 256 miles west-northwest of La Rioja, Argentina; and 368 miles north of Santiago, Chile.
The earth shook at about 24 miles beneath the surface.
"Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are resistant to earthquake shaking, though some vulnerable structures exist," according to the USGS. "Recent earthquakes in this area have caused secondary hazards such as landslides that might have contributed to losses."
Among the cities where the earthquake was felt were Vallenar, Copiapo, Coquimbo, La Serena, Vicuna, Diego de Almagro, Ovalle and Monte Patria.
"Since 1900, numerous magnitude 8 or larger earthquakes have occurred on this subduction zone interface that were followed by devastating tsunamis, including the 1960 M9.5 earthquake in southern Chile, the largest instrumentally recorded earthquake in the world," the USGS said.