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Colombia Hit By 7.0 Magnitude Earthquake

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First Posted: Feb 09, 2013 03:54 PM EST
Colombian police officers patrol in the earthquake affected Quetame May 25, 2008.

Colombian police officers patrol in the earthquake affected Quetame May 25, 2008. Credit:Reuters

A 7.0 magnitude earthquake tracked on Saturday by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) as having struck southwestern Colombia turned out to in fact have had a magnitude of 6.9. (UPDATE: USGS then revised the number one hour later, stating the quake did achieve a 7.0 magnitude.)

The observation was first made by the USGS at 9:16 a.m ET. At the time of writing, no damage has been reported by officials.

Being referred to as a "tremor," the USGS suggested that no such damage would be expected due to the "significant diminishment" of potential by the earthquake having been so "deep," according to geophysicist John Bellini.

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Having been felt throughout Colombia as well as neighboring Ecuador, the quake - centered seven miles (11 kilometers) from the town of Pasto (population of 400,000 residents; the capital of the department of Narino) - was tracked as having taken place 777 miles (129 kilometers) below the surface.

Regardless, the quake has been referred to as "strong," with citizens feeling the impact hundreds of miles south in Quito and evacuations being made (briefly) by residents of Colombia's Bogotá.

It was in Quito, the capital city of Ecuador, that buildings shook for at least two minutes.

"Authorities said the quake was deep and ask people to stay calm," reported Reuters via a Tweet by Colombian media network Caracol.

It was only a week earlier, on Saturday, Feb. 2, that a similar 6.9 magnitude earthquake rocked the northern Japan island of Hokkaido. No reports of tsunami or damages were immediately reported there, as well, but blackouts did result from that 64-ft. (103-km.) quake. Numerous highways were also closed at that time.

In 2013 alone, there has already been a reported 16 deaths as a direct result of worldwide earthquakes, with 225 such quakes clocked by the USGS. Nearly 25 of these quakes had a magnitude of between 6.0 and 7.9.

According to further numbers reported by the USGS, 2012 marked the first year since 2009 that the amount of global quakes went down, with 1450 as opposed to the 2495 monitored in 2011.

13 of the aforementioned 16 deaths were a result of the 8.0 magnitude rocker that struck the Santa Cruz Islands on Feb. 6. Two people died of a heart attack due to Chile's 6.8 quake that occurred on Jan. 30, and one more fatality was the result of Jan. 21's 6.1 earthquake that hit Northern Sumatra, Indonesia.

15 injuries from that quake were also reported.

The BBC reported in March 2011 that the devastating earthquake that hit Japan that year would cost the nation as much as 25 trillion yen or $309 billion.

For more real-time answers about worldwide earthquakes, the USGS' Frequently Asked Questions can be accessed here.

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