Peru Earthquake: 'Ring of Fire' Region Prone to Frequent Collisions

First Posted: Jun 18, 2013 11:14 PM EDT

Peru was hit by an earthquake on Tuesday, affecting the country's capital of Lima, according to various reports.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake struck the country at a 5.1-magnitude, causing panic throughout parts of Lima.

According to the country's geological agency, the quake struck in the afternoon around 35 miles west of Callao.

At this time,  there have been no immediate reports of injuries or damages. This is the second moderate quake to hit the country in a week.

Hernán Tavera, the head of the Geophysical Institute, said that shortly following the disaster, telephone service was no longer working.

Geography shows us that Peru is located on the "Ring of Fire," otherwise known as the belt of earthquakes and volcanoes that surround the Pacific. All around its western coast, the South American plate is colliding with the Nazca place, which forces the heavier ocean crust down and into the Earth's mantle. These collisions can cause more problems to erupt over time, and potentially produce more frequent earthquakes.

The earthquake produced today is reported to be approximately 38 miles below the surface and along the interface between the Nazca and South American plates. 

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