Are the Earthquakes in Ecuador and Japan Related?

By Denisse Moreno, Epoch Times
April 18, 2016 Updated: April 18, 2016

There is no relation between the strong, consecutive earthquakes that occurred in Japan and Ecuador, staff at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said.

“They’re not related,” said Gavin Hayes a geophysicist at USGS. “They’re thousands of kilometers apart and in different types of plates.”

A strong 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit southern Japan on April 15 at 1:25 a.m. local time—a day after a 6.5 quake in the same area. On April 16, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Ecuador killing hundreds.

The depth of the 7.0 earthquake in Japan was 7 kilometers—a shallow earthquake, which made the shaking more intense, says Hayes.

“These shallow earthquakes are more rare. They cause a lot of damage,” he said.

However, Hayes said the earthquake in Ecuador was sixteen times bigger than the one in Japan. The last time the South American country suffered an earthquake that strong was in the 1940s.

The tremor in Ecuador caused massive destruction and more deaths than the one in Japan, since it was of a higher magnitude, but also because the nation was less prepared.

“Japan is one of the best nations in terms of preparedness,” said Hayes.

He said earthquakes need to be understood to make areas more resistant to tremors.

“Building codes needs to be adopted,” said Hayes. “Older buildings have to be improved.”

The Ecuadorian Security Minister Cesar Navas said on April 18 the death toll was at 350. President Rafael Correa said the number of fatalities would “surely rise, and in a considerable way.”

“The Ecuadorean spirit knows how to move forward, and will know how to overcome these very difficult moments,” said Correa.

The president assessed the damage and met with victims on Monday.

The earthquake left thousands homeless. Spain’s Red Cross said as many as 5,000 people may need temporary housing, and 100,000 may need some sort of aid.

Navas said rescuers are still seeking victims and survivors among collapsed buildings.

The minister of foreign affairs, Guillaume Long, said on Twitter that international rescue teams were helping with the aftermath. The international relief consists of Mexico, with 120 rescuers, along with South American neighbors, Bolivia, Venezuela and Colombia, Peru, Chile, Cuba. Spain is helping with 80 experts and Switzerland with 3 experts.

The Ecuadorian government said it would draw on $600 million in emergency funding from multilateral banks to rebuild.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.