Friday morning’s 6.2 magnitude earthquake was followed late Friday night with a strong 5.8 tremor south of Guayaquil. Both quakes were felt in much of the country, including Cuenca.
Guayaquil officials said that the morning earthquake, which struck about 8:30, caused damage to about 80 structures but said evaluations continue. Several residents, mostly elderly, were treated for minor injuries.
Electric, cell and landline telephone and public transportation services were disrupted in some parts of the city and public schools were dismissed. Thousands of residents left their homes and offices, flooding into downtown streets when the shaking began.
Ironically, the city of Guayaquil had planned an earthquake emergency simulation drill to begin shortly after the real quake occurred. That event was cancelled.
The morning quake was centered 26 kilometers south of Guayaquil at a depth of 11 kilometers. The 5.8 quake was recorded at 12:23 p.m., centered east of the earlier quake at a depth of 8.4 kilometers.
According to Ecuador’s Geophysical Institute, residents in half of the country’s provinces felt the quake, with the greatest intensities reported in Guayas, El Oro, Santa Elena and Azuay provinces.
There were no reports of damage in Cuenca although most residents, particularly those in high-rise offices or apartments, felt the morning quake.