Ecuador sits uneasily on a tectonic fault line. A catastrophic quake leveled the provincial city of Ambato in 1949. But the temblors of August 13th and 14th in the Quito suburbs are rare occurrences. The last instrumentally-recorded event there was in 1990, and to go beyond that one would have to consult documents from the 19th century. With so little experience to rely on, Quiteños were at a loss to explain these seismic events.