Earthquake stronger than ‘The Big One’ possible in N. Cotabato – PHIVOLCS

Marje Pelayo   •   October 31, 2019   •   1883

Earthquake-damaged building in North Cotobato after a magnitude 6.5 temblor struck the province on Thursday, October 31, 2019. (PHOTOVILLE INTERNATIONAL)

MANILA, Philippines – Three consecutive earthquakes with a strength higher than magnitude 6 struck North Cotabato this month.

But the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) believes that a temblor more powerful than the magnitude 7.2 is possible to occur in the area in the future.

Although historically, the strongest shaking recorded in the region was magnitude 7.5 and it was onshore.

In the recent past, Metro Manila has been active in conducting a series of earthquake drills in preparation for the anticipated movement of the 100 kilometers West Valley Fault that traverses several towns in Bulacan, Metro Manila up to Laguna that can generate a magnitude 7.2 earthquake or the so-called The Big One.

“Tandaan, hindi lang sa greater Metro Manila maaaring magkaroon ng The Big One (Note that it is not only in greater Metro Manila that the Big One could occur),” PHIVOLCS Officer-In-Charge Renato Solidum said.

“Posible ring mangyari ito sa ibang bahagi ng Pilipinas dahil sa mga active faults at trenches na makapagdudulot ng malakas na lindol (It could also happen in other cities in the Philippines due to active faults and trenches that could generate strong earthquake),” he added.

On October 29, a magnitude 6.6 quake was experienced in Tulunan town in North Cotabato which was followed by a series of strong aftershocks.

A day after on October 31, the area was again rocked by an equally strong magnitude 6.5 temblor which further caused damage to the structures in the area.

“Tinatawag po namin siyang series of events kasi tuloy-tuloy ang paggalaw niya doon dahil sa marami siyang sources na pwedeng panggalingan, (We call it series of events because the activities are continuous from multiple sources,)” explained Mylene Enriquez, a Science Research Specialist from PHIVOLCS.

According to PHIVOLCS, Central Mindanao, which includes Cotabato, is one of the seismically active regions in the country.

Specifically, the region has five active faults that may cause strong ground shaking.

These are the M’lang Fault, Makilala-Malungon Fault, North Columbio Fault, South Columbio Fault, and the western extension of the Mindanao Fault or the Cotabato-Sindangan Fault.

These faults, PHIVOLCS said, could possibly generate strong earthquakes — stronger than what West Valley Fault could produce.

“Kasi interrelated ang mga faults doon (These faults are interrelated),” Enriquez said.

“Ibig sabihin magkakalapit sila so kung may gumalaw na isa, posibleng maapektuhan yung isa pang katabi niyang system or fault (This means that since they are adjacent to one another, one move affects the others in the system or fault),” she explained.

Also, the Cotabato Trench can also be a major source of earthquakes that can impact the region apart from other nearby local faults that can generate small to strong magnitude temblors.

In 1924, at least four earthquakes with strength ranging from magnitude 5 to 7.5 were recorded in Cotabato.

PHIVOLCS, however, clarified that the earthquake in Cotabato is different from what is expected to occur in Metro Manila in terms of impact and effects as Metro Manila has more structures and is more densely populated than other cities in the country. – MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Intense earthquakes in Taal indicate possible ‘explosive eruption’ — PHIVOLCS

Marje Pelayo   •   January 14, 2020

Cracks due to frequent earthquakes can be seen on the roads, houses and some establishments in Batangas.

BATANGAS, Philippines – The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) reported intense seismic activity in Taal volcano in the past 24 hours.

As of Tuesday (January 14), the agency recorded a total of 212 volcanic earthquakes in the region of Taal, of which, 81 were felt with intensities ranging from Intensity I to V in the areas of Tagaytay City, Cavite.

“Such intense seismic activity probably signifies continuous magmatic intrusion beneath the Taal edifice, which may lead to further eruptive activity,” PHIVOLCS said in its report.

Based on PHIVOLCS’ 24-hour monitoring, Taal Volcano’s main crater has been continuously erupting due to magmatic and hydrovolcanic activity which generated 500-meter tall lava fountains and about two kilometers tall dark gray steam.

Since the last update, the agency said, heavy ash fall has reportedly fallen on the municipalities of Lemery, Talisay, Taal, and Cuenca, Batangas.

Sulfur dioxide emissions blanketed the air which were measured at an average of 5,299 tons per day on Monday (January 13).

PHIVOLCS maintains Alert Level 4 over Taal Volcano which means a possibility of a hazardous explosive eruption is high within hours to days.

Thus, the agency strongly reiterates total evacuation of the entire Taal Volcano Island as well as nearby areas at high risk to pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami within a 14-kilometer radius from Taal’s main crater.

Communities north of Taal Volcano are advised to guard against the effects of heavy and prolonged ash fall.

PHIVOLCS remains in close monitoring of the activities of Taal Volcano and assures the public of up to date information.

In a press briefing on Tuesday, PHIVOLCS OIC Renato Solidum advised the public to be aware of the developments in Taal’s activities as major explosive eruption remains a possibility.

“We need the cooperation of everyone. The scenario of hazardous eruption is a real scenario that has been exhibited by Taal volcano. If we look at those scenarios, the impact is quite significant. Therefore, people need to be reminded that going inside the recommended evacuation zone is a risky business and in reality we need to focus on moving people away from identified areas,” he said.

“The mere fact that we are recording a lot of earthquakes and the fissures are now observed, meaning the entire area of Taal is being pushed by the magma intrusion, that would now be a possible source, if this would reached the surface, for a possible eruption and hopefully it’s not explosive but based on past events, it becomes explosive,” he concluded.

Duterte visits, vows aid to quake victims in North Cotabato

Robie de Guzman   •   December 30, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday assured continued support for residents in North Cotabato towns that were devastated by earthquakes between October to December 15 that shook parts of Mindanao.

“I assure you that the government will continue to help all of you until you are able to get back on your feet and start anew with renewed hope and greater capacity to lead dignified lives,” Duterte said in a speech during his visit to M’lang, North Cotabato.

Aside from meeting quake victims, the chief executive also distributed food packs as well as financial grants to residents from earthquake-stricken towns in the province.

North Cotabato is among the provinces heavily damaged by the series of earthquakes that jolted parts of the Mindanao region.

Last October, the province of Cotabato suffered three succeeding temblors – magnitude 6.3 on October 16, magnitude 6.6 on October 29 and magnitude 6.5 on October 31.

On November 1, a magnitude 5.0 quake struck Makilala, Cotabato just a few hours after a magnitude 5.5 tremor hit waters off Sarangani province.

The latest was a magnitude 6.9 temblor that hit Davao del Sur and shook neighboring areas on December 15.

The earthquakes displaced thousands of residents who are now staying in evacuation shelters.

Duterte said he has ordered the National Housing Authority (NHA) to fast-track the setting up of housing units for those who were rendered homeless by the recent quakes.

The president expressed hope that the assistance he extended will make the victims feel the warmth and joy of the season despite their current situation. He also apologized for not visiting them sooner.

“I condole with you. I share your grief. Sa totoo lang, kaya ako andito, pinilit ko, and I must apologize, I am very sorry that I couldn’t be here immediately. Marami hong problema sa Maynila,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Heavy rains, strong winds rip tents at Makilala, Cotabato evacuation sites

Robie de Guzman   •   November 12, 2019

 Villagers rest at a makeshift shelter in the earthquake-hit town of Makilala on Mindanao island, Philippines, 01 November 2019. EPA-EFE/CERILO EBRANO

Strong winds and heavy rains destroyed several makeshift tents at two evacuation centers where some of the evacuees in Makilala, North Cotabato are staying following the recent earthquakes that hit Mindanao.

According to a CNEWS report by Raymond Octobre on Tuesday, evacuees endured thunderstorms on Monday afternoon while staying in their temporary shelters in Makilala Central Elementary School.

A cellphone video taken by one of the evacuees showed makeshift tents being destroyed and pulled apart by strong winds and heavy rains coupled with ice pellets.

At the Santos Land evacuation center in Poblacion, Makilala, several tents erected using tarpaulin and bamboo wood were also ripped apart by heavy rains that lasted for almost an hour.

Sheryl Orbita, acting Municipal Administrator of Makilala, assured no one was injured while an individual was brought to a hospital after falling unconscious.

Orbita added that evacuees affected by the heavy rains have been given assistance.

More than 50 families from the Santos Land evacuation center were also transferred to a temporary shelter in Makilala National High School while around 100 other families opted to remain in the area.

“Dinalhan naman din sila ng pagkain doon na luto na tsaka mga damit kasi nabasa yung iba may mga damit doon sa nililipatan nila,” Orbita said.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said that as of November 12, there are 20 evacuation centers catering to more than 4,700 families in Makilala.

Overall, there are 69 evacuation centers serving a total of 53,612 quake-hit families in Davao and Soccsksargen regions. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Raymond Octobre)

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