Rim of Fire is Burning: Earthquake in Chile Follows Volcanic Eruption, Solar Storm
June 6, 2011 • 10:14AM

A quake hit south-central Chile this morning at 6:29 local time, measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale. Some 2,000 people were evacuated from coastal zones as a precaution, although they later returned to their homes.

However, there is panic regarding the relationship between the quake and yesterday's volcano eruption, and what this might portend for the future. The quake epicenter was in Maule, 280 km southeast of Santiago, about half way down to the Pehuyue Volano. Five regions felt the quake, most strongly near the city of Constitucion.

The Chilean Navy's oceanographic service, SHOA, ruled out any possibility of a tsunami. The head of the Chilean Seismological Service described this morning's quake as a "delayed and sporadic aftershock" of the February 2010 quake, which measured 8.8 on the Richter scale. Meanwhile, volcanic ash from the eruption yesterday of the Pehuyue volcano, has moved away from border towns on the Argentine side of the border, and is settling onto Argentina's Atlantic coast. Flights from the Buenos Aires metropolitan airports to Patagonia have been cancelled.

Meanwhile, a sharp gust of solar wind hit Earth's magnetic field at approximately 20:30 Greewich Mean Time on June 4, sparking a G2-class geomagnetic storm. The storm is subsiding now, albeit slowly.

And the 17,886-foot Popocatepetl volcano, overlooking Mexico City, shook for several minutes and then shot a blast of ash about two miles above its crater, while there was a 6.3 level earthquake registered on Macquarie Island, which lies between New Zealand and Antarctica.