22 Feb Powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake hits Peru-Ecuador border region
The quake’s epicentre was near the town of Montalvo. Pic: USGS
A very powerful magnitude 7.5 earthquake has struck eastern Ecuador close to its border with Peru, officials have said.
The US Geological Survey said Friday morning’s quake hit around 17km (10 miles) from the town of Montalvo, Ecuador, at a depth of 132km (182 miles).
Most major earthquakes in South America are at shallow depths of 70km (43 miles) or less, it added.
The ground was felt to shake for "a good 30 seconds" in Cuenca, Ecuador, which is around 253km (157 miles) from the epicentre, according to a witness statement on the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre website.
Another resident in the city described the temblor as very strong.
One person living in the town of Nulti, 228km (141 miles) west of the epicentre, said: "Strong rattling of our windows woke us up. Continued for quite some time. Outside, trees and power lines were swaying. Our dog was scared."
Emergency services are attending the worst-hit areas to assist with evacuations.
An initial reading of the quake revealed it occurred at around 5.17am local time, at magnitude 7.7, the USGS said.No Tsunami warnings are in place.
There were no immediate reports of casualties.