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Reconnaissance Report: Surveying Damage for Coastal Ecuador Earthquake

ABS Group Advanced Engineering Division

Reconnaissance Report: Surveying Damage from Coastal Ecuador Earthquake

On Saturday, April 16, 2016, at 18:58 local time, a magnitude M7.8 earthquake occurred in the oceanic plate subduction area between the Nazca Plate and the Northern Andean Block portion of the South American Plate. The epicenter was located in Coastal Northern Ecuador near the City of Muisne (0.37o N and 79.34o W), at a depth of 19 kilometers. The faulting was located on the Pacific "ring of fire" where the earth's tectonic oceanic plate subduction zones and related volcanic activity is common. Most of the observed damage, due to fault slip and associated ground shaking, was located to the south of the epicenter along the coast extending towards the City of Manta.

The earthquake ground shaking had devastating consequences, especially in the large coastal provinces of Esmeraldas and Manabi. Cities such as Pedernales (spa and resort town), Portoviejo and the port of Manta in the province of Manabi, as well as Muisne in the province of Esmeraldas, were especially hit hard by the earthquake. Buildings in both urban and rural areas were heavily damaged by the earthquake, and approximately 660 people were injured.

Three weeks after the earthquake, ABS Group sent a reconnaissance team consisting of three engineers from our offices in Peru and California to survey the damage (Todd Erickson, S.E; Juan Chavez, PhD, P.E. and Engineer Carlos Barrera). The team surveyed the damage in the cities of Guayaquil, Portoviejo, Manta, Pedernales, Muisne, Atacames/Tonsupa and Esmeraldas from 8-15 May 2016.

Download a copy of the Ecuador Earthquake Preliminary Report summarizing our observations and lessons learned from the damage assessment.


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