Magnitude 7.1 - ECUADOR

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2010 August 12 11:54:16 UTC

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Earthquake Details

  • This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.
Location 1.260°S, 77.312°W
Depth211 km (131.1 miles) set by location program
Distances145 km (90 miles) E of Ambato, Ecuador
155 km (95 miles) ENE of Riobamba, Ecuador
160 km (100 miles) SSW of Nueva Loja, Ecuador
175 km (110 miles) SE of QUITO, Ecuador
Location Uncertaintyhorizontal +/- 3.3 km (2.1 miles); depth fixed by location program
ParametersNST=523, Nph=523, Dmin=752.8 km, Rmss=0.87 sec, Gp= 14°,
M-type=teleseismic moment magnitude (Mw), Version=8
Event IDus2010zwa5
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Earthquake Summary

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Tectonic Summary

This major earthquake occurred within the lithosphere of the Nazca plate. The earthquakes of Ecuador and most of western South America are due to strains generated by ongoing subduction of the Nazca plate beneath the South America plate. At the latitude of the earthquake, the oceanic Nazca plate moves east relative to the South America plate at a rate of about 7 cm per year. It is overridden by the South America plate at the Peru-Chile trench, west of the Ecuadoran coast, and sinks into the earth's mantle beneath the South America plate. The subducted Nazca plate is seismically active to depths of about 650 km. This earthquake occurred as normal faulting within a segment of the subducted plate that has produced frequent earthquakes with focal depths of 160 km to 200 km beneath the earth's surface. A magnitude 6.7 earthquake in 1971 was situated 60 km to the southwest of the August 12, 2010, earthquake at a depth of 170 km.

Earthquakes that have focal-depths between 70 and 300 km are commonly termed "intermediate-depth" earthquakes, as distinguished from "shallow-focus" earthquakes, having depths less than 70 km, and "deep-focus" earthquakes, having depths greater than 300 km. Intermediate-depth and deep-focus earthquakes represent deformation within subducted plates, rather than deformation at plate boundaries. Intermediate-depth and deep-focus earthquakes typically cause less damage on the ground surface above their foci than is the case with similar magnitude shallow-focus earthquakes, but large intermediate-depth and deep-focus earthquakes may be felt at great distances from their epicenters.

Earthquake Information for Ecuador

Earthquake Information for South America