QUITO – A magnitude-5.1 earthquake hit the Ecuadorian province of Pichincha on Tuesday and shook the country’s capital, according to the Geophysical Institute of the National Polytechnic School.
At least two people reportedly lost their lives and another 18 were injured in a landslide brought on by the quake at a quarry in northern Quito.
The institute said the quake occurred at 2:57 p.m. (1957 GMT) and a magnitude-4.1 aftershock was felt shortly thereafter.
A source at the institute told Efe that the temblor was generated at an estimated depth of 5 kilometers (3 miles) in Calderon, some 10 kilometers (6 miles) north of Quito.
The powerful quake caused landslides in a number of sandpits and hills in the area, which sent up a dust cloud that was easily observed from the capital.
The Mariscal Sucre International Airport, some 60 kilometers (37 miles) east of the capital, resumed its operations on Tuesday after they were suspended due to the dust cloud that resulted when the quake struck, said the Quiport company, which manages the terminal.
Airport operations got underway again after authorities evaluated the premises and concluded that no damage to airport infrastructure or injuries to personnel had occurred.
The temblor was felt strongly in Quito, while social networks spread the news that it also shook cities farther away like Atuntaqui and Ibarra, the latter located some 120 kilometers (75 miles) north of the capital.
The Guayasamin Tunnel, which connects the city with the neighboring Cumbaya Valley, was closed to traffic due to the dust cloud caused by the landslides.
The Geophysical Institute recommended that people “keep calm” and listen for the latest reports issued by the authorities.