Two powerful earthquakes rocked separate nations on Earth this weekend, causing deaths and much destruction. A magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck north of the city of Kumamoto, on the island of Kyushu in southwest Japan on April 15, 2016. On April 16, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck offshore of the west coast of northern Ecuador, near the coastal town of Muisne. Although the earthquakes took place across the Pacific from one another, both large earthquakes took place along what is known as the Ring of Fire, a region of tectonic activity encircling the Pacific.
Japan has been rocked by a series of shallow earthquakes in recent days. The April 15, 2016, 7.0-magnitude event took place one day after a series of foreshocks in the same region, which included 6.2-magnitude and 6.0-magnitude earthquakes. All of these quakes occurred near the southern Japanese city of Kumamoto.
At least 32 people are reported to have died, and about two dozen people were known to be still buried beneath rubble, according to Kumamoto Prefecture’s disaster management office early Sunday. At least 800 people are injured. Rescue efforts were hindered by heavy rains were expected through Sunday. Evacuation centers were reported to be crowded with nervous residents.
The 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit at a depth of six miles (10 km) early in the morning on Saturday, local time (16:25 UTC on April 15).
A tsunami warning was issued, and lifted some 50 minutes later.
The earthquake in Ecuador is that country’s largest since 1979. It hit at in early evening on Saturday (23:58 UTC) near the coastal town of Muisne.
Ecuador’s Vice-President Jorge Glas told the BBC that at least 77 people had died and more than 500 were known to be injured by the quake. The BBC also said:
Widespread severe damage is reported, with a bridge destroyed as far south as Guayaquil about 300km (190 miles) away.
Bottom line: Japan was struck by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake on April 15, 2016. One day later, on April 16, Ecuador was struck by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake. Many deaths and injuries, and widespread destruction, are reported in both places, and rescue efforts are ongoing.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.