Earthquake in Ecuador kills at least 4, no tsunami threat to Hawaii

Earthquake in Ecuador kills at least 4, no tsunami threat to Hawaii

At least four people were killed and more than a dozen injured by a powerful earthquake that struck Ecuador’s coast Saturday morning, according to local authorities.

The temblor, which registered 7.8 on the Richter scale, struck approximately 100 miles off the coast of Ecuador at 6:58 a.m. local time, the United States Geological Survey reported. The epicenter of the quake, which occurred at a depth of 19.2 miles, was located about 27 miles from Muisne, a small fishing village.

The quake triggered a tsunami warning for the Pacific coast of South America, but authorities said that no destructive waves had been detected, and there was no tsunami threat to Hawaii or any other part of the Pacific.

The earthquake caused widespread destruction along the coast of Ecuador, with officials reporting buildings damaged, roads blocked and power and phone outages. Local media reported at least four deaths and more than a dozen injuries in the coastal provinces of Manabi and Esmeraldas.

The USGS said the quake was the result of thrust-faulting on the interface between the Nazca and South American tectonic plates, a process in which the two plates are compressed against each other, resulting in uplift and seismicity.

“The location, depth, and focal mechanism of the earthquake are consistent with its occurrence on the subduction thrust interface between these two plates,” the agency said in a statement.

Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa urged citizens to remain calm, and said the government had activated all its emergency protocols.

“We are assessing the damage and preparing all the help that our compatriots need in this difficult moment,” he wrote on Twitter.

The quake was felt as far away as the Colombian capital, Bogota, and Quito, the capital of Ecuador. The USGS said there was a low likelihood of fatalities and economic losses, but that the affected population could expect light to moderate shaking.

Saturday’s earthquake was the strongest to hit Ecuador in decades. In 1979, a 7.7-magnitude earthquake killed more than 600 people, largely in the northern province of Esmeraldas.