Big earthquakes have big impacts on society. The M7.8 earthquake near Muisne, Ecuador occurred on April 16th, 2016 and has caused hundreds of deaths, tens of thousands of people displaced, and estimates of the damages are in the billions of dollars. Our understanding of Plate Tectonics helps inform us about where earthquakes are likely to occur and how big they may be, but we may never be able to forecast earthquakes on the appropriate time and spatial scales for effective warnings before the rupture begins. However, aftershocks, or small earthquakes following a large earthquake, can continue for months to years after the mainshock and characterizing these aftershocks may provide important insights into processes within the earthquake cycle. This blog will follow a Rapid Array Mobilization Project (RAMP) deployment in Ecuador led by researchers at Lehigh University (Anne Meltzer and Josh Stachnik) and the University of Arizona (Susan Beck, Colton Lynner, and Rob Porritt). We are collaborating with Mario Ruiz at Instituto Geofisico – Escuela Politecnica Nacional from Ecuador and international groups from France, Germany, and the U.K.
The earthquake occurred ~2 weeks before this blog post and we're heading down in a couple days, planning to arrive May 6th. We have 20 broadband sensors from the PASSCAL instrument center awaiting us at the US Embassy, but we'll need to get local tools and building materials in Ecuador. Hopefully Monday, a week from this post, we'll be heading to a staging area in western Ecuador to clarify plans and start the deployment.
|Shake map for the M7.8 16 April 2016 earthquake (http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/us20005j32#general)|