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Very strong M6.8 earthquake hits near the coast of Ecuador

ecuador m6.7 earthquake march 18 2023 location map

A very strong earthquake registered by the USGS and IGEPN as M6.8 hit Ecuador at 17:12 UTC on March 18, 2023. IGEPN is reporting a depth of 37 km (23 miles); USGS 65.8 km (40.1 miles). EMSC is reporting M6.8 at a depth of 75 km (46.6 miles).

According to the USGS, the epicenter was located 6.9 km (4.3 miles) NNE of Baláo (population 12 205), 28.3 km (17.6 miles) SW of Naranjal (population 32 045), 48.8 km (30.3 miles) NNE of Machala (population 198 123), 52.8 km (32.8 miles) N of Pasaje (population 44 860), and 68.9 km (42.8 miles) NNE of Santa Rosa (population 41 816).

The USGS issued an Orange alert for shaking-related fatalities. Significant casualties are likely and the disaster is potentially widespread. Past events with this alert level have required a regional or national level response.

A Yellow alert was issued for economic losses. Some damage is possible. Estimated economic losses are less than 1% of GDP of Ecuador.

Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are highly vulnerable to earthquake shaking, though some resistant structures exist. The predominant vulnerable building types are mud wall and reinforced/confined masonry construction.

Recent earthquakes in this area have caused secondary hazards such as landslides that might have contributed to losses.

ecuador m6.8 earthquake march 18 2023 igepn map

918 000 people are estimated to have very strong shaking, 5 307 000 strong, and 2 252 000 moderate.

Based on all available data, there is no tsunami threat from this earthquake, PTWC said.

Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are highly vulnerable to earthquake shaking, though some resistant structures exist. The predominant vulnerable building types are mud wall and reinforced/confined masonry construction.

ecuador m6.8 earthquake march 18 2023 location map bg
Image credit: TW/SAM, Google

Liquefaction triggered by this earthquake is estimated to be significant in severity and (or) spatial extent.

The number of people living near areas that could have produced liquefaction in this earthquake is extensive.

ecuador m6.7 earthquake march 18 2023 location map bgz
Image credit: TW/SAM, Google
ecuador m6.8 earthquake march 18 2023 liquefaction
Liquefaction map. Credit: USGS

Estimated population exposure to earthquake shaking

ecuador m6.8 earthquake march 18 2023 usgs epe
ecuador m6.8 earthquake march 18 2023 usgs epet

Selected cities exposed

ecuador m6.8 earthquake march 18 2023 usgs sce

Regional seismicity

ecuador m6.8 earthquake march 18 2023 emsc rs

Updates

Structural damage to buildings was reported in the city of Cuenca in southern Ecuador’s Andes mountain range.

People reported objects falling inside their homes in Guayaquil.

https://twitter.com/EarthquakeChil1/status/1637149926046965770?s=20

March 19

The quake lasted about 2 minutes.

Government officials said at least 14 people have lost their lives and an estimated 381 were injured.

A statement released by the office of Guillermo Lasso, the President of Ecuador, reported that 12 individuals lost their lives in the coastal state of El Oro and two more in the highlands state of Azuay.

The Risk Management Secretariat of Ecuador, the country’s emergency response agency, stated that one of the casualties in Azuay was a passenger in a vehicle that was crushed by debris from a house in the Andean community of Cuenca.

In El Oro, the agency reported that several individuals were trapped under the rubble. In Machala, a two-story house crumbled before people could evacuate, a pier broke, and the walls of a building cracked, trapping an undetermined number of individuals.

The earthquake was felt throughout Peru, from the northern boundary with Ecuador to the central Pacific coast. Alberto Otárola, the Prime Minister of Peru, reported that a 4-year-old girl had passed away due to head injuries sustained from the collapse of her house in Tumbes, located at the border with Ecuador.

Featured image credit: TW/SAM, Google

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