ShakeMap (Calculated intensity of this Ecuador earthquake):
A strong and very shallow earthquake has caused severe damage to towns in northern Ecuador. The Magnitude 5.7 quake hit the province of Karchi near the border to Colombia on Monday. The epicenter was located near the town of San Gabriel, where facades of some houses collapsed. Also the towns El Angel and Tulcan were affected. Large cracks were caused in the village Montufar. According to preliminary data of the ecuadorian Civil Protection, 40 buildings including two schools were damaged in Karchi and two people were injured by collapsed walls. Damage assessment is ongoing while several smaller aftershocks followed.
Several small but superficial faults are crossing the Andean regions of Ecuador. Strong earthquakes occur frequently and often cause severe damage. Over the past few years, intense seismicity were recorded near Cerro Negro volcano, just 15 km north west of todays epicenter. However, the direct vicinity of this volcano is only sparsely populated so that these quake didn’t result in huge damage. Over the past weeks this earthquake sequence increased again. It is unclear whether there is any relation to the current earthquake.
Current earthquake activity in Ecuador:
In the past 30 days, 8 earthquakes of magnitude 3.5 or higher were detected in Carchi, Ecuador (see map section). Therefore, the earthquake activity of the past month has been significantly lower relative to long-term trends (more than 20% deviation).
Since 1960, 78 earthquakes larger than Magnitude 5.7 were detected in this region. This makes an average of 1.32 earthquakes larger than M5.7 per year in Ecuador. Therefore, the general earthquake activity is usually very high and quakes of this size have an average recurrence time of approx. 9.1 months (273 days).
Largest earthquakes in this map section* (Ecuador and nearby)
*Data: USGS (Magnitude 5 +, since 1960)
What to do in case of an earthquake?
1. No panic.
2. If you are inside a building: Seek shelter under stable furniture (e.g. dining table). Be aware of falling objects. Do not flee the building! Falling roof tiles, bricks and glass can harm you. After the shaking stopped: Turn off the electronical devices. Check gas pipes for leaks. Check for structural damage. Leave your house if you are uncertain. In case of damage: Do not enter the building before professional savety check! Dangerous aftershocks might follow. Help your neighbours if necessary.If outdoors: Keep away from buildings, try to find open space, crouch down and cover your head with your arms. Do not run on streets before checking for cars. Always watch your environment.
3. If you are near the coast: In case of strong or long-lasting shaking evacuate to higher grounds immediately! A tsunami might be possible. Do not wait for official warnings. In areas of high tsunami threat, follow the evacuation route signs but be aware of possible damaged buildings and landslides on your route. Once reaching a higher / save point, listen to official instructions and warnings.
4. If you are in the mountains or near a steep slope: Watch for rockfalls, landslides and avalanches. Get away from slopes immediately and protect your head with your arms.
5. Try to help people in need. Take special care for eldery people and children. After the earthquake stopped, confirm that your neighbours, friends and family are save. Help them, if necessary but do not get yourself into a dangerous situation. Call and wait for professional rescue teams.