February 4, 1797
The Riobamba earthquake strikes Ecuador.
1797 Riobamba earthquake
The 1797 Riobamba earthquake occurred at 12:30 UTC on 4 February. It devastated the city of Riobamba and many other cities in the Interandean valley, causing up to 40,000 casualties. It is estimated that seismic intensities in the epicentral area reached at least XI on the Mercalli scale, and that the earthquake had a magnitude of 8.3, the most powerful historical event known in Ecuador. The earthquake was studied by Alexander von Humboldt, when he visited the area in 1801/2.