A major 7.3 magnitude earthquake has struck the northern coast of Venezuela.

The US Geological Survey said the quake, was centred near the town of Guiria, but shook buildings as far away as the capital Caracas.

The US Pacific Tsunami Center said the quake, which was fairly deep, could cause small tsunami waves along the coast near the epicentre, 37km southwest of the town of Carupano.

A magnitude 7.3 quake is considered major and is capable of causing widespread, heavy damage, but the quake was 123.11km deep, which would have dampened the shaking.

– Reuters