Ecuador Earthquake: Massive Magnitude 7.8 Earthquake Hits Ecuador, At Least 28 People Dead, Tsunami Warnings Issued

Just days after two earthquakes rocked Japan and took several lives, we have news of another large earthquake from Ecuador. According to the Los Angeles Times, Ecuador has been hit by a massive earthquake that at least initially has been pegged at a magnitude-7.8 tremor. A report by NBC News adds that the Ecuador earthquake struck the region at around 7 p.m., local time (8 p.m., ET). The epicenter of this earthquake was located around 16 miles south-southeast of the coastal town of Muisine, the USGS confirmed. There is still no clarity regarding the actual magnitude of the earthquake. While several reports say that the earthquake measured 7.8, newer reports say that it was “only” a magnitude-7.4 earthquake.

While the true extent of the damage to life and property would only come to light once daylight sets in, there is hope that there would not be widespread loss of life. This is because the earthquake took place in a sparsely populated region of Ecuador where there are no large cities nearby. The towns worst affected by the Ecuador earthquake are believed to be Muisne, Pedernales, and Rosa Zarate, according to local news reports.

Social media was quick to respond and people have posted pictures of what seem to be the damage caused by the earthquake. We have embedded a few tweets below.

Meanwhile, local Ecuadorian television stations have reported that several houses near the epicenter have collapsed. A video showed significant damage to a shopping mall located in the town of Portoviejo, located around 120 miles south of Muisne. Several bridges and flyovers have also reportedly collapsed.

The earthquake shook homes in the region and was also felt in the capital city of Quito located nearly 100 miles away. People were seen running out of buildings and onto the street when the ground began to shake beneath them. Initial reports say that the earthquake was recorded at a depth of 12 miles — which makes it a relatively shallow earthquake. Shallow earthquakes are generally known to be more powerful and destructive in nature compared to the ones that happen deeper. This is similar to the recent earthquakes that hit Japan and claimed the lives of more than 40 people.

Recalling the earthquake, Lorena Cazares, 36, a telecommunications worker in Quito, told Reuters the following.

“I was in my house watching a movie and everything started to shake. I ran out into the street and now I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

While a Tsunami warning was issued shortly after the earthquake, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that a Pacific-wide tsunami is not expected.

The main earthquake, measuring magnitude-7.8, was followed by two other aftershocks that have been recorded at magnitude-5.4 and 4.8, respectively. These earthquakes happened barely an hour after the initial large earthquake took place.

This is a developing news story. Check back for more updates later.

Update: Initial reports say at least 28 people have been killed in the Earthquake.

[Photo by AP Photo/Ana Maria Buitron]

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