Phivolcs warns of 'Big One' after Surigao quake

MANILA, Philippines - Following the magnitude 6.7 earthquake that caused devastation in Surigao, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has issued a warning on the “Big One,” a powerful earthquake that could kill thousands of residents of Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

Phivocs warns of “Big One” after Surigao quake
According to Phivolcs director Renato Solidum, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake to be generated by the West Valley Fault is already ripe for movement. Solidum explained that the fault moves approximately every 400 years. It was in 1658 or 357 years ago that the last major earthquake was generated by the fault spanning 100 kilometers.

“Everyone must learn from the recent effects of the magnitude 6.7 earthquake in Surigao del Norte. If a similar event happens in a highly urbanized area, the effects can be more devastating,” Solidum said.

Parts of Bulacan through Marikina, Quezon City, Makati, Taguig, Pasig and Muntinlupa in Metro Manila, Calamba, Cabuyao, Santa Rosa, Biñan and San Pedro in Laguna as well as Silang, General Mariano Alvarez and Carmona in Cavite are traversed by the West Valley Fault.

Based on a study funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency for Phivolcs and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake can take the lives of up to 34,000 people and injure 100,000 others due to collapsed buildings.

The magnitude 6.7 earthquake that shook Surigao last Friday night killed at least 8 people and injured hundreds. As of yesterday morning, more than 150 aftershocks have been recorded. More aftershocks that could collapse already damaged structures are expected from the quake.

However, Solidum stressed that the movement of the Philippine Fault in Surigao system would not cause movement of faults farther such as the West Valley Fault.

To prepare residents for the “Big One,” the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (DOST-PHIVOLCS) released an atlas that shows areas traversed by the Valley Fault System. It may now be downloaded at Phivolcs website.


--Mini, The Summit Express

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