A POWERFUL 8.3 magnitude earthquake has struck the Pacific Ocean near the coast of central Chile, with US authorities warning it could generate a tsunami
The epicentre of the tremor, which occurred at 5.34pm (AEDT), was 99 kilometres southwest of the Chilean town of Talca and 117 kilometres northeast from Concepcion, also in Chile, the US Geological Survey said.
There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage. CNN reported power outages in the capital city of Santiago, more than 300km away.
The survey had initially put the magnitude of the tremor at 8.5 but later adjusted it to 8.3. The location of the epicentre was also slightly corrected.
The US Pacific Tsunami warning centre issued a tsunami warning for Chile and Peru, and a tsunami watch for Ecuador.
It said it was not yet known if a tsunami had been caused but an earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines within hours.
The quake magnitude reading is based on the open-ended Moment Magnitude scale which is used by US seismologists and measures the area of the fault that ruptured and the total energy released.