A powerful but deep earthquake shook a broad swath of Colombia and Ecuador on Saturday, sending frightened people fleeing into the streets, but there were no immediate reports of significant damage or deaths.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake, recorded at 9:16 a.m. local time, was 129 kilometres below the surface and had a magnitude of 7.0. It was centred 11 kilometres from the Colombian town of Pasto.

The quake was felt in the Colombian capital of Bogota, 545 kilometres to the northeast, and across much of neighbouring Ecuador.

Colombia's national disaster chief, Carlos Ivan Marquez, said officials had made a damage survey across the country "and fortunately up to this moment we have no reports of human losses."

In the province of Narino, where the quake hit, secretary of government Jaime Rodriguez said officials had reports of three people hurt when roof tiles fell in the town of El Charco along the Pacific Coast. Officials in Ecuador also reported no significant damage.

Colombian television showed people fleeing into the streets in southwestern cities such as Cali, and small cracks in the walls of some buildings.