Colombia/Ecuador Earthquake

Massive deep earthquake felt all over Colombia and Ecuador – October 1 update

Last update: October 1, 2012 at 8:04 am by ByArmand Vervaeck and James Daniell

Earthquake overview : A massive subduction earthquake occurred below the Colombian Andes at 11:31 local time. Due to the very deep hypocenter, this earthquake will probably not lead to damage or inju

Update Oct. 1 – 07:30 UTC :
– The village of Timbiqui (Cauca) has been the most affected during this earthquake. 15 to 20 houses have been damaged. The damage was reported rather late as there was no communication and is it was difficult to reach it by road. Timbique is located in the coastal flat area and has apparently a soft soil. Nobody has been reported injured.
– In Cali 2 hospitals reported slight damage as the plaster and parts of the ceiling came down. Some patients were moved to other rooms as a precaution for eventual aftershocks.
– The video below shows the gentle swaying of this earthquake in Cali, Colombia.

Peak velocity image courtesy USGS

Update 21:47 UTC : Colombian reports are maintaining the GREEN status = NO damage or injuries.

Update 20:05 UTC : As expected in the beginning of this article, some minor damage was reported at some official buildings like fallen plaster from walls and ceilings, fallen objects, etc. Nothing really serious that people should leaving the building because of a danger of collapse. We continue to follow up the situation and will report when new reports are being published.

Update 20:01 UTC : The rumor that 2 people were killed in the Esmeraldas province was DENIED by the authorities. This rumor circulated on twitter. There is really nothing reported so far the official said.

Update 18:48 UTC : Good preliminary news from inside Colombia (intermediate report as a lot of villages near the epicenter have still to be visited) : NO serious damage or injuries

Update 18:48 UTC : The Colombia National System of Risk Management had indicated that the earthquake has been felt in the following departments : Cauca, Valle del Cauca, Huila , Risaralda, Quindío, Santander, Antioquia, Caldas, Tolima, Chocó y Cundinamarca.

Update 18:40 UTC : The Colombian Civil defence services (FOPAE) are currently assessing the situation in the many villages closest to the epicenter.
As could be expected people fled to streets when the shaking started (instead of staying inside and following the advise of the specialised services). Running outside to an open space can better be done when the shaking stops.

Update 18:21 UTC : USGS has changed his Pager color from Green to Yellow, a move we do not like at all. This indicates that there is certainly a chance on fatalities from secondary effects like landslides and Rockfall. We do not expect any shaking fatalities as the max. shaking reported is a V MMI (moderate shaking)

Update 17:52 UTC : The massive earthquake wave is now travelling around the world and will be noticed on every seismograph worldwide. A good example is the below graph at El Hierro, Canary Islands, Spain. The wave departed at the epicenter at 16:31:34 UTC and arrived at El Hierro at 16:42. It took the earthquake wave only 11 minutes to travel this huge distance from Colombia to the Canary Islands

Seismogram at El Hierro, Canary Islands, Spain – The strong amplitude is the Colombian earthquake arriving at El Hierro

Update 17:45 UTC : USGS has updates Magnitude and depth again (complicated calculations) and report now a Magnitude of M7.3 at a depth of 162 km.
Update 17:38 UTC : We would not be surprised that some Central American countries may have felt this earthquake too, especially Panama and Costa Rica. When you live in Panama or in Costa Rica, please tell us with the form below when you have felt some shaking
Update 17:33 UTC : To understand todays earthquake one should imagine that a huge explosion takes place at a distance of 150 km, the impact will be considerable but normally not damaging. If in such a case the depth would have been at 15 km, this earthquake would have been normally a very devastating one as the same explosion would have arrived as a destructive wave.
Update 17:20 UTC : Popoyan, a Colombian city close to the epicenter is reporting a light MMI IV shaking, which is a good sign
Update 17:17 UTC : Distance from the epicenter to the capitals of the 2 neighbouring countries Colombia and Ecuador is about the same (Bogota and Quito).
Update 17:12 UTC : We do repeat that deep earthquakes who do originate in the solid hot mantle of the earth are mostly harmless. As every earthquake is different such an expectation is based on numbers only. Secondary effects like Rockfall and landslides may always cause damage and injuries (mainly depending on the weather conditions)
Update 17:08 UTC : Most important cities near the epicenter and their (probable) experienced shaking values
Moderate MMI V shaking : San Agustin 9000 people, Isnos 5000, Saladoblanco 1000,  Pitalito 53000, Palestina 2000 and Elias 1000
Update 17:01 UTC :
* 2 million people are expected to have felt a moderate shaking
* 14.5 million people a light shaking and 10 million people a weak shaking. These 3 shaking values are normally NOT generating any damage. Small cracks in walls and falling objects are often experienced though.

USGS shaking map based on a M7.1 magnitude and a depth of 150 km

Important Update 16:57 UTC : USGS has just decreased the Magnitude from M7.4 to M7.1 at a depth of 150 km. These are very good numbers which confirm the incoming intensity (shaking) values
Update 16:54 UTC : First incoming reports are talking about a weak to very weak shaking, which is exactly what we did expect. In some cases a moderate shaking may be experienced, but we are quiet sure that this earthquake will not generate serious damage or injuries.
Update 16:49 UTC : A tsunami is NOT possible because of the epicenter who is located below land (far inland)
Update 16:46 UTC : Please omit the depth of Geofon in the listings. 10 km in in many cases reported as a “we do not know it yet” depth. Both USGS and EMSC are reporting a very weakening 168 and 140 km depth. This depth is normal as this is clearly a subduction earthquake generated by a moving Nazca plate who did hang below the continental South American Plate.
Update 16:43 UTC : Biggest city in the greater epicenter area : Popoyan  Epicenter is located on the stateline in between Cauca and Huila.
Update 16:42 UTC : Preliminary data are reporting an epicenter at 23 km from La Vega, Colombia. Preliminary Magnitude is M7.4 !
Update 16:38 UTC : This earthquake, which is not extremely dangerous if the preliminary data are correct (depth +150 km), will be felt ina very wide radius of hundreds of km. We do not have yet official data.
Based on the number of visitors joining us from Colombia, we believe that an earthquake occurred in Colombia
When you have felt an earthquake a little while ago, please write us what you have felt as soon as possible

Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : Mw 7.3
UTC Time : 2012-09-30 16:31:35 UTC
Local time at epicenter : 2012-09-30 11:31:35
Depth (Hypocenter) : 162.1 km
Geo-location(s) :
10km (6mi) WNW of Isnos, Colombia
34km (21mi) WNW of Pitalito, Colombia
60km (37mi) SSE of Popayan, Colombia