Massive earthquake near Pasto, Colombia - 1896+ houses damaged, 14 people with minor injuries

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Important update 00.00 UTC Wednesday :  Toll remains at 1896 houses damaged. 24 schools, 5 public buildings, 3 pedestrian bridges were also damaged. The toll remains at 14 or 15 injured.

Important update 08.31 UTC Monday : The most recent reports about this earthquake in different newspapers show that this quake was much more destructive than earlier reported. All in all, there were at least 1896 buildings in Colombia damaged. More than 100 were completely destroyed. More than 2000 people lost their home.
43 towns/villages are affected. The most affected region was Cauca, north of the epicenter. Only in this region, 1700 buildings were damaged. In Narino, the region, where the quake had its epicenter, 119 buildings were damaged.

At least 14 (or 15, depending on source) people were injured, all of them in Cauca. There were mainly minor injuries, which were mostly caused by the evacuation of buildings while or after the quake.
The government of Colombia provides 4 million US-$ to support the victims and rebuild the damaged houses.


Update 01.00 UTC Sunday: A house in Esmeraldas in the north of Ecuador has also been destroyed. This was a older house made of wood and cane.
The quake was felt strongly in the Esmeraldas, including reported falling items from shelves in the city of Quinindé.
The total number of houses damaged in Colombia has risen to 258.
Minor damage such as fallen items and broken glass was reported as far as Bogota.
Nariño, Cauca and Valle, are the most affected departments.
The damage was much higher than the September 30, 2012 earthquake.


Update 19.21-24.00 UTC: The number of injured persons increased to 8.  At least 143 houses were damaged. 6 of these were in the municipality of Narino. Civil protection has also said that these numbers could rise in the coming hours.

Update 17:57 UTC : Civil Defense in Colombia reports that at least 120 houses have been damaged by the shaking. No serious injuries reported so far, but 7 people have been treated for minor injuries.

Update 17:28 UTC : Almost all reported serious damage and collapsed houses happened in the flat area of the Pacific Coastal plain.

Update 17:14 UTC : Galeras volcano (located next to Pasto) had no visual change in activity.

Update 17:00 UTC : The number of injured people in El Charco has increased from 3 to 6

Update 16: 42 UTC
Roundup of the damage reported so far (all in Colombia) :
- El Charco : 3 slightly injured people
- Cali : Minor damage like cracks in houses
- Narino : at least 20 collapsed houses
- Timbiquí : 3 collapsed houses
- Buenaventura : 6 houses seriously damaged
- Popoyan (The Tunnel) : 5 houses severely damaged
- Bella Vista de Guapi : 2 houses damaged to some extend

Update 16:34 UTC : This I Have Felt It report reached us from Pasto :

I could not understand why my chair was rolling a little...then I remembered the chair did not have wheels!! No damage in the apartment pr the apartment building that we are aware of.

Image courtesy USGS

Image courtesy USGS

Update 16:25 UTC : No reports of damage so far in Ecuador. The earthquake was very well felt all over the country.

Update 16:20 UTC : How was this earthquake triggered (simplified) ?
The Pacific Ocean Nazca plate is heavier than the South American plate and is gliding below it to the east. This process goes at 8 cm per year (that very fast moving). When the subducting Nazca plate is blocked the stress is building up and gets too big. the sudden breaking away is the earthquake.

Update 16:05 UTC :
Based on theoretical models, 362000 people will have been feeling an MMI VI (strong) shaking.
3.3 million people will have felt a MMI IV (light) shaking.
Shaking exposure of the nearest cities :
MM VI (strong shaking) : Ipiales  78,000 people,  Orito 14,000,  Sibundoy 9,000, Puerto Guzman 4,000, Valle del Guamuez 10,000, Puerto Asis 30,000 and Pasto 382,000 people
MMI IV (light shaking) : Florencia  130,000, Quito 1,400,000, Cali 2,393,000 and Neiva 353,000

Update 15:29 UTC : So far we notice 3 slightly injured people. They were all injured by falling objects (remember that you should play "Play the game" to ensure that your house is well outfitted against earthquakes.
The 3 injured were from El Charco, a coastal plain village.
The same scenario is unfolding here than during the September 30,2012 earthquake. Most damage was at the coastal plain because of the soft soil reacting otherwise to the shaking waves than the rocky sturdy underground of the highlands.
El Charco is the red A on the map. Todays epicenter just south of Pasto (bottom center), last yer's epicenter near Papoyan (right corner)

Screen Shot 2013-02-09 at 16.43.26

Update 15:29 UTC : A number of cities like Cali in Colombia are without power. People also report slight damage in Cali (cracks in houses for example). As ou can see below this happened also in 2012.

Update 15:27 UTC : For a few moments when we saw people entering our site, we were afraid that Quito was hit y a shallow very strong earthquake. This would have been an absolute disaster as we see Quito as one of the most dangerous cities in the world. It should be prone to landslides like we have seen in Haiti generating a lot of houses to collapse in the poorer areas of the city.

Update 15:17 UTC : Our new configured maps proof to be useful as you can see that not too far from todays epicenter, another massive deep quake occurred on September 30 2012. This is the article we wrote at that time.
Today's earthquake is located at approx. the same Longitude but 100 km south in Latitude.

This was the damage we have noticed and reported at that time :
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.

Update 15:04 UTC : The Colombian nor the Ecuadorian press are talking about damage, which is a very good sign as news runs fast in these times. Of course rescue teams in Colombia are currently making assessment trips to villages near the epicenter to find out if these people need help.

Update 15:04 UTC : Ingeominas Colombia (seismological agency in Colombia) reports a Magnitude of 6.9 . Epicenter near Tuquerres, and Nariño. Ingeominas reports this earthquake at a depth of 183 km !. This is EXTREMELY good news if true, but this can of course be revised too.

Update 14:59 UTC : As you can see below, we receive a lot of Experience reports from either Colombia and Ecuador and even at a bigger distance. In our backoffice we also have the MMI values reported by the people. In average they indicate MMI IV to VI, which is very normal for this kind of Magnitude/depth.
We do not see widespread devastation at these values but local damage is a real possibility.

Update 14:52 UTC : The epicenter has been located by USGS at only 11 km from Pasto, a big city. Our readers should however know that this distance is less important than in the case of shallow earthquakes. 120+km is very deep in the hot solid mantle of the earth.
Pasto is located near the Colombian Galeras volcano, an active volcano.
Deep earthquakes are however not immediately volcano related and may at utmost change the pattern a little bit.

Image courtesy Wikipedia

Image courtesy Wikipedia

Update 14:42 UTC : people in Quito are now talking about a major second earthquake/aftershock

Update 14:36 UTC : The length of the shaking is of very great importance for eventual damage. People are reporting 30 seconds of shaking, thats very long but also normal for massive deep quakes like this one.
- ER calls a radius of approx. 100 km around the epicenter as dangerous for eventual damage (normally minor damage). A  lot depends on the kind of soil the area has.

Update 14:30 UTC : Just for the information of our readers : NO tsunami can e triggered as the epicenter is far inland.

Update 14:28 UTC : As indicated below, other agencies are reporting a depth of 80 to 120 km, which is weakening the impact a lot, but a M7.2 earthquake is still a very huge earthquake which can do a lot of damage in softer soil.

Update 14:26 UTC : We have the impression that the hypocenter (depth) of the earthquake will be deeper than the preliminary value of Geofon.

The earthquake has an epicenter to the east of Pasto, Colombia
Exact hypocenter not known yet.

5km (3mi) NE of Yacuanquer, Colombia
11km (7mi) SW of Pasto, Colombia
20km (12mi) SE of Sandona, Colombia
29km (18mi) E of Tuquerres, Colombia
199km (124mi) NE of Quito, Ecuador

Links to important maps
USGS Did You Feel It Map
Historic earthquakes map
Shaking map
Human impact map
Scientific parameters

Screen Shot 2013-02-09 at 15.43.20

Most important Earthquake Data:

Magnitude : 6.9

Local Time (conversion only below land) : 2013-02-09 09:15:57

GMT/UTC Time : 2013-02-09 14:15:57

Depth (Hypocenter)  : 124 km

Depth and Magnitude updates in the list below.

Share your earthquake experience (I Have Felt It) with our readers.
Click on the "I Felt It" button behind the corresponding earthquake. Your earthquake experience is not only important for science, but also for people in the area as well as our global readership.

Refresh this list
SRC Location UTC Date/time M D INFO
PTWC Colombia Feb 09 14:24 6.9 130 MAP I Felt It INFO
  • Pasto - I could not understand why my chair was rolling a little...then I remembered the chair did not have wheels!! No damage in the apartment pr the apartment building that we are aware of.
  • Pasto, Colombia - Strong shaking from the apartment building for nearly 1 minute, but no damage in my apartment
  • INGEO Pasto, Colombia Feb 09 14:16 6.9 186 MAP I Felt It INFO
    USGS Colombia Feb 09 14:16 6.9 153 MAP
    USGS Colombia Feb 09 14:16 6.9 129 MAP
  • Quito - Felt my apartment move
  • Quito, Ecuador (El Ejido) - Felt on 7th floor, light shaking, nothing fell from shelves
  • Cotacachi, Imbabura, Ecuador - Rolling shake for more than one minute, doors and pictures swayed
  • Ecuador - Very hard shaking, lamps moved, cat very scared
  • Santo Domingo de los Colorados - Shook the lights and the bed but the walls didn´t crack.
  • cuenca ecuador - shaking for 30 seconds
  • Manizales - A first weak shaking wave with increasing to strong shaking, pause and another weak shaking again.
  • Guayaquil Ecuador - It was a long shake, normaly i didnt felt too long shake mabe 30 seconds, at the final was more violent, we jump from our chairs!!
  • Quito - Fue un movimiento osilatorio, demoro mucho tiempo , lamparas se movian como estar en un barco
  • Panama City, Panama - It seems only me and my brother felt it, we were sitting and everyone else was standing up. It wasn't very intense shaking, but it definitely was the earthquake. We live on the 13th floor.
  • CALI Colombia - It was a very long shaking ,the doors opend by themselves,I was pushed against my bed ,then it silenced a moment and shaked most faster ,that I had to hold me tide at the bed,sitting on the floor.
  • Quito - Todo el departamento se movio violentamente, duro bastante
  • Quito - Felt a 'drop' then rolling and shaking for 2-3 minutes with aftershocks
  • Quito, Ecuador - Lasted about 60 seconds, moderate shaking here.
  • Cumbaya, Eacuador - About 9:20 in Cumbaya, Ecuador. Slight horizontal shaking for a few seconds. The chandelier was swinging a few degrees. No aftershock yet.
  • Otavalo,Ecuador - I was sitting on the computer then i started to sway. the pictures are shaking and people are running out of there houses. Things in my house were falling. I walk outside and I still feel the shaking. The lamp posts were rocking violently and then it suddely stops.
  • Pointe San Lorenzo, Manabi, Ecuador - audible rumble followed by protracted side-to-side shaking. Heavy for first 10 seconds followed by light movement for about 10 more. A second tremor after about 30 seconds was lighter but still significant.
  • Pereira - plates started moving
  • San Jacinto, Ecuador - My coffee cup was 1/2 full and the shake spilled it
  • Cuenca, Ecuador - smooth, rolling movements for about 15-20 seconds.
  • Quito - I was lied on bed, then the ground started to shake from right to left
  • Quito, Ecuador - was in my room when I felt light shaking that lasted for approximately 30-45 seconds.
  • Quito, Ecuador - Woke me up this morning at about 9:15 on 2/9/13. The bed was shaking and the chandaliers and the patio doors. Called my parents and they felt it on the street in the car.
  • Quito - Whole apartment shook strongly for around 30 seconds.
  • Quito - Light to moderate with sustained shaking. I was at hotel 1st level having breakfast. All hanging lamps with significat movement. Felt more like the ground swaying below me. Sustained for at least 20s. Quite scary.
  • Ibarra, Imbabura, Equador - Lamps shaking, electricity cables shaking, very scared dog.
  • Ecuador - shaking big building
  • Quito - lasted about 10-20 seconds, it was the strongest I have felt in Quito in 8 years.
  • Quito - It felt like I was on a boat for about a minute pictures swayed and windows rattled....and it lasted a long time!
  • Otavalo - I felt moving everything, the power lines were shaking. People doesn´t care.
  • Gorgona Panama - Just sitting on the couch and it started to shake...by the time we realized what it was it was over.
  • Gorgona, Panama - Building swayed a little, light fixtures swung for just a few seconds
  • Altos del Maria, Panama - sitting at computer, chair slightly sways then continues to sway for quite a few seconds, thought my cat with rubbing the chair, but cat not there! Being from California, USA knew it was earthquake, but no rumbling or windows shaking.
  • Panama City - I was on the 14th floor of a hotel in the Bella Vista section of Panama City. Very weak shaking for a period of about 15 seconds or so.
  • Bahia de Caraquez, EC - While in bed on the second floor I heard the drop of something small fall from the nightstand, felt the bed move, and sitting up I saw and felt the building shake. Many residents of the city ran outside as they were reminded of a big earthquake 15 years ago. Most likely we were feeling the earthquake centered near Bogota, Colombia.
  • Quininde, Ecuador - Slight tremors turned into strong shaking. stopped for a bit then tremors again. lasted about 1 minute in total. vehicles were rocking and the tin roof was shaking
  • Cotacachi, Imbabura - I was in a second story apartment when the bed I was sitting on began to roll like a boat on the ocean. It lasted for a couple of minutes, then gone.
  • EMSC Colombia Feb 09 14:16 7.0 136 MAP
    USGS Colombia Feb 09 14:16 6.9 130 MAP
    WCATWC Colombia Feb 09 14:16 6.9 129 MAP
    GEOFON Colombia Feb 09 14:15 6.9 124 MAP I Felt It INFO
  • Medellín - light shake
  • Medellín - I was sleeping
  • CALI - Long and strong
  • Bogota, Colombia - Noticed the bed shaking, doors moving, got up and felt the floors moving. No one outside seemed to notice it. Chandeliers swinging, lasted almost two minutes.
  • Bogotá - Sitting at my desk, I felt as if I was dizzy. I looked up and a hanging lamp was swinging lightly. It lasted a few minutes.
  • Cali Colombia - We felt in Cali Colombia,lasted around 35-40 seconds No Damages visible
  • Cali - The pictures on the wall moved, some fell on the floor. It lasted ~30 seconds.
  • Cali, Colombia - Started light and got stronger, walls moving. Small object knocked off shelf. Hard to walk. Neighbors running outside. Lasted maybe 30 seconds?
  • Guayaquil, Ecuador - It laster over 30 seconds and its the strongest earthquake I've ever felt in Guayaquil. Woke me up and shook pretty baldy my bed, but no damages.
  • Palmira-valle colombia - Was about to open garage doors and they were rattling. Thought it was the wind. When I opened them I felt the movement under my feet. Very mild for a California boy!
  • Cali, El Refugio - we felt it in Cali, it scared my 3 beagles and created waves in the swimming pool!
  • Bogota - I thought my body was shaking and I was about to faint. Then I realized other things were shaking too. The tv shook and so did a statue in the living room. It lasted about 2 or 3 minutes.

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    SHARE YOUR EARTHQUAKE EXPERIENCE WITH US

    I felt the shaking *
    Country where you felt the earthquake *
    City/Village where you felt the earthquake *
    Street or suburb (area) where you felt the earthquake
    Latitude (area) where you felt the earthquake
    Longitude (area) where you felt the earthquake
    Shaking Strength *
    MMI II (Very weak shaking) ?
    People :
    Felt by persons at rest, on upper floors or favorably placed.
    MMI III (Weak shaking) ?
    People :
    Felt indoors; hanging objects may swing, vibration similar to passing of light trucks, duration may be estimated, may not be recognized as an earthquake.
    MMI IV (Light shaking) ?
    People :
    Generally noticed indoors but not outside. Light sleepers may be awakened. Vibration may be likened to the passing of heavy traffic, or to the jolt of a heavy object falling or striking the building.
    Fittings :
    Doors and windows rattle. Glassware and crockery rattle. Liquids in open vessels may be slightly disturbed. Standing motorcars may rock.
    Structures :
    Walls and frames of buildings, and partitions and suspended ceilings in commercial buildings, may be heard to creak.
    MMI V (Moderate shaking) ?
    People :
    Generally felt outside, and by almost everyone indoors. Most sleepers awakened. A few people alarmed.
    Fittings :
    Small unstable objects are displaced or upset. Some glassware and crockery may be broken. Hanging pictures knock against the wall. Open doors may swing. Cupboard doors secured by magnetic catches may open. Pendulum clocks stop, start, or change rate.
    Structures :
    Some large display windows cracked. A few earthenware toilet fixtures cracked.
    MMI VI (Strong shaking) ?
    People Felt by all. People and animals alarmed. Many run outside. Difficulty experienced in walking steadily.
    Fittings :
    Objects fall from shelves. Pictures fall from walls. Some furniture moved on smooth floors, some unsecured free-standing fireplaces moved. Glassware and crockery broken. Very unstable furniture overturned. Small church and school bells ring. Appliances move on bench or table tops. Filing cabinets or "easy glide" drawers may open (or shut).
    Structures :
    Slight damage to buildings with low standard. Some stucco or cement plaster falls. Large display windows broken. Damage to a few weak domestic chimneys, some may fall.
    Environment :
    Trees and bushes shake, or are heard to rustle. Loose material may be dislodged from sloping ground, e.g. existing slides, talus slopes, shingle slides.
    MMI VII (Very strong shaking) ?
    People
    General alarm. Difficulty experienced in standing. Noticed by motorcar drivers who may stop.
    Fittings :
    Large bells ring. Furniture moves on smooth floors, may move on carpeted floors. Substantial damage to fragile contents of buildings.
    Structures :
    Unreinforced stone and brick walls cracked. Low standard buildings cracked with some minor masonry falls. A few instances of damage to buildings of ordinary workmanship. Unbraced parapets, unbraced brick gables, and architectural ornaments fall. Roofing tiles, especially ridge tiles may be dislodged. Many unreinforced domestic chimneys damaged, often falling from roof-line. Water tanks Type I burst. A few instances of damage to brick veneers and plaster or cement-based linings. Unrestrained water cylinders (hot-water cylinders) may move and leak. Some common windows cracked. Suspended ceilings damaged.
    Environment :
    Water made turbid by stirred up mud. Small slides such as falls of sand and gravel banks, and small rock-falls from steep slopes and cuttings. Instances of settlement of unconsolidated or wet, or weak soils. Some fine cracks appear in sloping ground. A few instances of liquefaction (i.e. small water and sand ejections).
    MMI VIII (Severe shaking) ?
    People Alarm may approach panic. Steering of motorcars greatly affected. Structures : Low standard buildings heavily damaged, some collapse. ordinary workmanship buildings damaged, some with partial collapse. Reinforced masonry or concrete buildings damaged in some cases. A few instances of damage to buildings and bridges designed and built to resist earthquakes. Monuments and pre-1976 elevated tanks and factory stacks twisted or brought down. Some pre-1965 infill masonry panels damaged. A few post-1980 brick veneers damaged. Decayed timber piles of houses damaged. Houses not secured to foundations may move. Most unreinforced domestic chimneys damaged, some below roof-line, many brought down. Environment : Cracks appear on steep slopes and in wet ground. Small to moderate slides in roadside cuttings and unsupported excavations. Small water and sand ejections and localized lateral spreading adjacent to streams, canals, lakes, etc.
    MMI IX (Violent shaking) ?
    Structures Many low standard buildings destroyed. Ordinary workmanship buildings heavily damaged, some collapse. Reinforced masonry or concrete buildings damaged, some with partial collapse. Buildings and bridges designed and built to resist earthquakes damaged in some cases, some with flexible frames seriously damaged. Damage or permanent distortion to some buildings and bridges, designed and built to normal use standards. Houses not secured to foundations shifted off. Brick veneers fall and expose frames. Environment : Cracking of ground conspicuous. Landsliding general on steep slopes. Liquefaction effects intensified and more widespread, with large lateral spreading and flow sliding adjacent to streams, canals, lakes, etc.
    Tell us your experience and how many seconds the shaking lasted + let us know if your property has been damaged (even slight damage). (max. 500 characters)
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