The US Geological Survey (USGS) said the quake, which had a 6.6 magnitude, was centred 80km (50 miles) west of the town of Linqiong.
It said the tremor occurred at a depth of 12.3km (7.6 miles). It is not clear if there have been casualties.
The area is prone to tremors. An 8.0 magnitude earthquake in Sichuan province, in May 2008, killed nearly 90,000 people.
The latest quake – initially reported as a 7.0 magnitude, and then at 6.9 – struck at 08:02 local time (01:02 BST), the USGS said.
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