Updated: Powerful 7.8 earthquake rocks Ecuador: USGS

Courtesy usgs.gov website
Courtesy usgs.gov website

QUITO, Ecuador (AFP) — A powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake shook Ecuador Saturday, the US Geological Survey reported, with the tremor strongly felt in the capital Quito as a tsumani warning was also issued for local coasts.

“Based on the preliminary earthquake parameters, hazardous tsunami waves are possible for coasts located within 300 kilometers of the earthquake epicenter,” the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

With a depth of 10 kilometers (six miles), the quake struck at 2358 GMT about 173 km west-northwest of Quito and just 28 kilometers south-southeast of Muisne, the USGS said.

Buildings swayed in Quito but authorities did not immediately report injuries or damage.

In fact, two earthquakes jolted the same area just 11 minutes apart, the USGS said. The first measured 4.8 and the second 7.8.

The quake also rattled northern Peru, authorities there said.

The major jolt came as rescuers in Japan were racing against the weather and the threat of more landslides  to reach people still trapped by two big earthquakes that hit that country’s south.

At last 41 people are known to have died in the double disaster, with at least six still missing — feared buried in shattered houses or under torrents of mud.




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