rtr3jm8q_78287_990x742A big earthquake of magnitude 8.2 shook the coast of northern Chile on Tuesday night, setting off small landslides and a small tsunami and killing at least five people. But scientists say the quake, while large, was not the “big one” that is predicted for the region.  “The big question is, is this a foreshock to an even bigger earthquake to come?” Rick Allmendinger asks. Allmendinger, a geologist who specializes in earthquake analysis at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, is a visiting professor at the Universidad Católica del Norte in Antofagasta, Chile. “It probably has not released all of the stored-up energy on the subduction earthquake fault in northern Chile,” he says. “For the sake of all of our friends in the region, we’re hoping that there isn’t a bigger one still to come.” Scientists don’t know when a possible larger quake might strike along the subduction zone, an area where one tectonic plate slides beneath another. It could happen at any time. (See “What Caused the Chile Earthquake?”) During the past 140 years, the faults off the Chilean coast have shifted repeatedly because of its proximity to the “Ring of Fire,” an area around the edges of the Pacific Ocean with high levels of earthquake and volcano activity. More