By David Jacobson, Temblor
Less than an hour ago, a M=6.0 earthquake struck coastal Ecuador, and caused widespread shaking. According to the USGS, the quake struck at a depth of 7.4 km, while the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) puts the depth at 40 km. Based on the USGS ShakeMap, very strong shaking was felt close to the epicenter, while light shaking was felt in the largest city, Guayaquil. So far, no reports of damage or fatalities have come in.
Ecuador is an extremely seismically active country as it sits on the Peru-Chile trench, where the Nazca Plate subducts beneath the South American continent. Based on the USGS depth (7.5 km) the quake this would have been an upper crustal event, while the EMSC depth (40 km) would likely mean the quake occurred on the subducting slab. Based on the Global Earthquake Activity Rate (GEAR) model, which is available in Temblor, this earthquake should not be considered surprising. This model uses global strain rates and seismicity since 1977 to forecast the likely earthquake magnitude in your lifetime anywhere on earth. In this location a M=6.75+ quake is likely.