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By Alex Johnson

A strong earthquake preliminarily measured at magnitude 7.3 rocked Venezuela early Tuesday evening, rocking much of northern South America and sending people fleeing from their homes.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or significant damage.

Image: Quake off Venezuela
The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was registered at 5:31 p.m. ET about 12½ miles north-northwest of Yaguaraparo on the northeast tip of Venezuela. USGS

Telesur, the Caracas-based national TV channel, reported that shaking was felt across the country. Buildings rocked and items fell off shelves across the Caribbean island of Trinidad, The Trinidad Express newspaper reported, adding: "The country has been stunned."

Video posted by Trinidad & Tobago state media CTV showed the interior of an evacuated restaurant with a large crack running the length of the floor in Chaguaramas, west of the capital, Port of Spain.

The Associated Press reported that shaking was felt as far away as Bogota, Colombia.

The U.S. Geological Survey, or USGS, said the quake was registered at 5:31 p.m. ET about 12½ miles north-northwest of Yaguaraparo on the northeast tip of Venezuela. The agency said it was the largest earthquake recorded within 150 miles of Tuesday's quake in the 20th and 21st centuries.

A magnitude-7.3 earthquake is capable of causing widespread heavy damage. But the USGS said the quake was about 53 miles deep, which likely eased its surface shaking.

The U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center put the quake at magnitude 7.4 but said there was no threat of a tsunami to Puerto Rico, the closest U.S. territory in the region.