Four men and one woman died - two who suffered heart attacks and three who were crushed, said Interior Minister Rodrigo Penailillo.
About 300 prisoners escaped from the northern port city of Iquique in the immediate aftermath, he said.
The quake struck about 8:46 p.m. local time, some 60 miles northwest of Iquique. It had a depth of 12.5 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
Chile's National Emergency Office asked coastal residents to evacuate.
"The fact is, we will know the extent of the damage as time goes by and when we inspect the areas in the light of day," Chile's President Michelle Bachelet said early Wednesday. "The country has faced these first emergency hours very well."
Residents in the port city of Antofagasta walked calmly through the streets to higher ground as traffic piled up in places.
"Many people are fearful after experiencing the powerful earthquake in 2010, so they immediately fled for higher ground when they heard the tsunami warning," said Fabrizio Guzman, World Vision emergency communications manager in Chile.
"There have been multiple aftershocks and communications have been cut off in many of the affected areas. So people are waiting in the dark hills not knowing what is to come, and hoping they will be able to return to their homes safely."
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued several tsunami warnings, but canceled all of them by early Wednesday. Tsunami watches, which initially extended as far north as Mexico's Pacific coast, were called off as well.
Tsunami waves of more than 6 feet generated by the earthquake washed ashore on the coast of Pisagua, according to Victor Sardino, with the center.
Iquique, with a population of more than 200,000, saw 7-foot waves.
An earthquake of the scale that struck Tuesday night is capable of wreaking tremendous havoc.
So, if the initial reports stand, Chile may have dodged a major catastrophe.
Landslides damaged roads in some regions. Power and phone outages were reported in others.
Chile is on the so-called "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanoes and fault lines circling the Pacific Basic that is prone to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
On March 16, a 6.7-magnitude earthquake struck 37 miles west-northwest of Iquique. A 6.1-magnitude hit the same area a week later.
About 500 people were killed when an 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck Chile on February 27, 2010. That quake triggered a tsunami that toppled buildings, particularly in the Maule region along the coast.
According to researchers, the earthquake was violent enough to move the Chilean city of Concepcion at least 10 feet westward and Santiago about 11 inches to the west-southwest.
'No hazards' to U.S. coastline
The U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center worked Tuesday to determine the level of danger for Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California, as well as Canada's British Columbia.
Gerard Fryer, a geophysicist with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, told CNN there is "clearly not going to be any hazards to the coastline of North America."
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning for Hawaii, saying strong currents may pose a hazard to swimmers and boaters.
With lead after lead failing to pan out, search and rescue officials said Monday they will expand the search area for the Malaysia Airlines aircraft that vanished three days ago.
The newly expanded search area encompasses a larger portion of the Gulf of Thailand between Malaysia and Vietnam, said Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, director general of the Malaysian Civil Aviation Department.
Nearly three dozen aircraft and 40 ships from 10 countries have so far failed to find any sign of the aircraft.
An oil slick that searchers had thought might be from the plane turned out to be fuel oil typically used in cargo ships, according to Rahman.
Other leads - reports that a plane door and its tail had been spotted - turned out to be untrue, he said at an earlier briefing.
"Unfortunately, ladies and gentlemen, we have not found anything that appear to be objects from the aircraft, let alone the aircraft," Rahman said at the earlier briefing.
To thunderous applause and with a Cheshire cat grin, Jimmy Fallon walked on to the stage at the NBC Studio in New York Monday night - the new host in the old home of the "Tonight Show."
"I am Jimmy Fallon and I will be your host - for now," he said, a pointed reference to the exit-enter-exit history of the last host, Jay Leno.
His first joke out of the way, he spent the next few minutes introducing himself to the audience - his childhood, his family, his career. He was pretty subdued through it all.
But then when the formalities were out of the way, he re-entered the show through the gigantic blue curtains - the ever-hip Roots playing him in - and started his show proper: the usual monologue and his usual over-eager but gracious self.
The laughs came easy.
And even before the new show's first guests appeared - Will Smith and U2 - a parade of celebrities walked up and dumped money on Fallon's desk.
"To my buddy who said that I'd never be the host of 'The Tonight Show,' and you know who you are," Fallon said, "you owe me a hundred bucks, buddy."
And out came Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian, Rudy Guliani, Mike Tyson and many others, slapping down bills.
During the rest of the show, Fallon pulled out old bits with fresh takes - such as an evolution of hip-hop dancing with Will Smith and 'Late Night Superlatives.'
With Fallon at the helm, the show moves back to New York for the first time since then-host Johnny Carson took it to Los Angeles in 1972.
For the rest of the week, the star power will burn equally bright.
Fallon's guests will include Jerry Seinfeld, Justin Timberlake and Michelle Obama.
The real challenge will be next week, and the next month, and the next year.
For most of his 22 years, Fallon's predecessor, Jay Leno, sat at the top of the late night talk show totem pole.
Sure, Leno was critically panned for his milquetoast interviews and his predictable jokes. But the masses loved him.
How will Fallon fare?
That's the big question.
For one thing, the late night landscape has changed. The hosts - like Conan O' Brien and Jimmy Kimmel - skew younger. And with Fallon, NBC hopes the audience will too.
While one-time host Johnny Carson has been the template all future hosts emulated, Fallon says he will fashion his stint after a different host: The original host, Steve Allen.
Allen's was a free-wheeling hodgepodge of chat, skits, piano-playing, ad-libbing, man-on-the-street interviews and loopy stunts.
Fallon is a capable guitarist and musical mimic who has done dead-on parodies of Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young, among others. Bits with guests such as Michelle Obama and Justin Timberlakehave gotten millions of views online, and segments such as "Slow Jam the News" have some of the whimsical quality that Allen was fond of.
Monday night's show ended with a new shareworthy moment: U2 and The Roots playing a goosebump-inducing, stripped-down version of "Ordinary Love."
Pete Seeger, the man considered to be one of the pioneers of contemporary folk music who inspired legions of activist singer-songwriters, died Monday.
He was 94.
Seeger's best known songs include "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," "Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)" and "If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song)."
But his influence extended far beyond individual hits.
His grandson Kitama Cahill Jackson told CNN that the singer died of natural causes at New York Presbyterian Hospital on Monday evening.
See more at CNN.com