In less than a week, on opposite sides of the world, earthquakes have killed hundreds and brought billions of dollars in property damage and economic losses.
But despite decades of research and advanced monitoring and modeling technologies, the science of predicting earthquakes remains elusive.
Back-to-back earthquakes this week in Ecuador and Japan have devastated those regions, inflicting heavy loss of life and property.
In Ecuador, President Rafael Correa declared a national state of emergency for six of the country's worst-hit provinces after a 7.78 magnituide quake struck the country's coastal region Saturday. As of Thursday, the death toll had risen to 570, with more than 4,600 injured. More than 1,100 buildings were reported destroyed and more than 800 damaged, according to catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide.
The company said its initial estimate of insured losses was between $325 million and $850 million. But those estimates don't include the far larger losses from uninsured property, infrastructure damage and relief efforts to help thousands of displaced households.
Correa on Monday said the rebuilding effort would cost billions of dollars and could inflict a major toll on the nation's oil-dependent economy, which has already suffered from the drop in crude prices
In Japan, the death toll hit 48 Thursday, a week after a series of quakes rocked the Kumamoto area in the country's southwestern Japan, the largest of which hit magnitude 7.3. The economic losses from economic property damage alone is expected to top $3 billion.
Despite efforts to minimize their impact, some of the deadliest earthquakes on record have occurred within the last two decades.