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Phivolcs explains why Pampanga was hit hardest by Luzon quake

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The center of the magnitude 6.1 earthquake that rattled parts of Luzon on Monday was traced in Castillejos, Zambales, but the province of Pampanga recorded the hardest hit.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) explained that aside from being a neighbor of Zambales, the province sits on soft sediment and alluvial soil.

Alluvial, in geology, means made up of or found in the materials that are left by the water of rivers, floods among others. An area with softer soil is prone to strong shaking during an earthquake.

Although the temblor was not considered major, Phivolcs said, it was felt by many because it was a bit shallow.

Monday’s earthquake had a depth of 21 kilometers.

“Kaya nagkaroon ng damages sa Pampanga, bukod sa malapit siya sa episentro ng lindol ay malambot yung area na yan. Alluvial area po yung Pampanga kaya malakas yung shaking na mararamdaman,” said Phivolcs Senior Science Research Specialist Melchor Lasala.

(Pampanga recorded heavy damages because aside from being near the quake’s epicenter, the province has soft soil. It is an alluvial area so the shaking was amplified.)

Among the areas that suffered heavy damages were Porac, Angeles and Lubao.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Tuesday reported 16 fatalities in the quake, 15 of which were from Pampanga.

Five people were killed in the collapse of a four-story supermarket in Porac, seven in different barangays in Porac, two in Lubao and one in Angeles.

READ: Luzon quake death toll rises to 16

The earthquake that struck Castillejos, Zambales on Monday was also felt in Metro Manila, parts of Bataan, Tarlac City, Batangas and Cavite.

Phivolcs said it has yet to identify if the recent quake in Luzon originated from an existing active fault in Zambales.

“Yung dalawang fault system na tinitingnan namin yung Iba Fault at East Zambales Fault,” Lasala said.

(We are looking at two fault systems, the Iba and East Zambales fault.)

Lasala added that the movement felt on Monday was called “strike slip”.

“‘Pag strike slip may dalawa tayong slab yung fault—yung left at yung right. Sa behavior, horizontal yung movement niya. ‘Yung isa papunta sa kaliwa yung isa sa papunta sa kanan,” Lasala explained.

Strike-slip faults are vertical (or nearly vertical) fractures where the blocks have mostly moved horizontally, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) earthquake glossary.

If the block opposite an observer looking across the fault moves to the right, the slip style is termed right lateral; if the block moves to the left, the motion is termed left lateral. 

Phivols also believes that the magnitude 6.1 quake that jolted Zambales will not trigger a movement of the West Valley Fault as it is 100 kilometers away from the epicenter traced in the Castillejos town.

According to a 2004 study, the West Valley Fault runs through the cities of Marikina, Pasig and Muntinlupa. It is capable of generating a magnitude 7.2 quake that could kill up to 34,000 people and injure 100,000 others. — Robie de Guzman (with details from Rey Pelayo)

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Magnitude 5.4 quake jolts parts of Ilocos Norte

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, May 6th, 2019

A magnitude 5.4 earthquake jolted parts of Ilocos Norte and neighboring areas on Monday (May 6), the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said.

In its bulletin, the tectonic quake struck at 10:48 a.m. with a depth of 15 kilometers. Its epicenter was located 11 kilometers east of Pagudpud town.

Varying quake intensities were felt in the following areas:

Intensity V – Pasuquin, Bacarra & Laoag City; Tuguegarao City
Intensity IV –
Paoay, Ilocos Norte
Intensity III –
Sinait & Santa, Ilocos Sur; Sudipen, La Union
Intensity II –
Baguio City

Phivolcs warned of possible aftershocks but no damage is expected.

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Alert Level 1 raised over Mount Bulusan

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Monday, May 6th, 2019

Mt. Bulusan

SORSOGON, Philippines— The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Sunday (May 5) raised Alert Level 1 over Mount Bulusan due to increased seismic activity.

From May 4 to 5, Phivolcs has recorded a total of 16 volcanic earthquakes, according to the agency’s Bulusan Volcano Bulletin on Sunday.

It also noted the active volcano’s tilt data from April 29 to May 5 which indicated a slight inflation in the upper slopes.

The agency also observed increase in water temperature of nearby hot springs.

Phivolcs said that raising Alert Level 1 or abnormal status “indicates that hydrothermal processes may be underway beneath the volcano that may lead to steam-driven eruption.”

With increase volcanic activity, the agency reminds residents and local government units (LGU) near the volcano to avoid entry into the 4-kilometer Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) around the volcano.

The agency also urges vigilance in the Extended Danger Zone or areas two kilometers beyond the PDZ, “due to the possibilities of sudden and hazardous phreatic eruptions (steam but no lava), rockfall and landslide.”

Likewise, aircraft pilots are advised to avoid flying near the volcano’s summit because ash from an eruption is hazardous. – Marje Pelayo

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Magnitude 5.5 earthquake rocks Occidental Mindoro

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Saturday, May 4th, 2019

Courtesy: Google Map

MANILA, Philippines — A magnitude 5.5 earthquake jolted parts of Occidental Mindoro on Saturday (May 4), the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said.

In its earthquake bulletin, Phivolcs said the tremor struck at 9:05 a.m. 23 kilometers west of Rizal town.

The quake was tectonic in origin and had a depth of eight kilometers.

According to Phivolcs, varying intensities were felt in the following areas:

Intensity V – Rizal & San Jose, Occidental Mindoro; Calapan, Oriental Mindoro
Intensity III – Lipa City, Batangas; Malay, Nabas & Ibajay, Aklan; Libertad, Antique; 
Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro
Intensity II – San Nicolas, Batangas; City of Manila

Instrumental Intensities:
Intensity IV – San Jose, Occidental Mindoro
Intensity III – Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro
Intensity II – Tagaytay City; Malinao, Aklan; Sebaste & Culasi,Antique; Calatagan, Batangas
Intensity I – Talisay, Batangas; Dolores & Mauban, Quezon; San Jose, Antique

Phivolcs said no damage and aftershocks are expected following the temblor.

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