Powerful quake hits off coast of Chile, coastal evacuations ordered

A major earthquake has occurred off the coast of Chile

(Reuters) - A magnitude 8.3 earthquake hit off the coast of Chile on Wednesday, shaking buildings in the capital city of Santiago and generating a tsunami warning for Chile, Peru.

Chile's government urged residents to evacuate the coastline.

Reuters witnesses said the quake was felt as far away as the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, on the eastern seaboard of South America.

The quake struck 105 miles (169 km) north of Valparaiso and was originally reported as magnitude 7.9, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

Hazardous tsunami waves from the quake were possible along the coasts of Chile and Peru within the next several hours, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said. A tsunami watch was also issued for Hawaii.

The quake struck at a depth of 15.5 miles (25 km), the USGS said. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

About 20 minutes after the initial earthquake, twin aftershocks of magnitudes 6.2 and 6.4 struck the region, USGS reported.

(Reporting by Peter Cooney in Washington; Writing by Lisa Shumaker; Editing by Will Dunham, Toni Reinold)