Phivolcs boosts strong quake equipment
A new monitoring station that can measure and record strong earthquakes has officially been launched in Tanay, Rizal province, making it the 100th station under the Philippine Strong Motion Network (PSMNet) that will help document the strongest of the earthquakes that the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) records every day.
The P1.2-million strong-motion station can provide data on the earthquake rupture process, characterize the type of materials under the soil and determine the effects of ground motion on buildings, as well as ground failures like landslides and liquefaction, according to Phivolcs.
Equipped with a strong-motion accelerograph, the station can also provide information for residents, engineers, planners and local governments that can be used in urban planning, and designing and building quake-resilient structures.
Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum said monitoring stations, like the one that opened in Tanay town on Tuesday, were situated in densely populated areas and near active faults since earthquake risks were typically higher in urban areas.
“These specialized stations are very important for research, monitoring and disaster risk reduction,” he said in a press briefing. “We want to make sure to cover the whole country with strong-motion sites, while different towns urbanize.”
While the stations under the Philippine Seismic Network monitor and record all earthquake events, including those that cannot be felt, strong-motion stations record only large ground movement during high-magnitude earthquakes.
The data that can be generated by the PSMNet can be very site-specific, said Phivolcs senior science research specialist Rhommel Grutas.
But residents of Tanay town will not be the only ones to benefit as the station can also record strong ground movement within a 300-kilometer radius, reaching areas in Metro Manila, Southern Luzon and even in the Bicol Region.From just four stations in 1992, strong-motion stations are now found in many areas nationwide, especially in and near urban areas such as Metro Manila, Cebu and Davao.
Under the PSMNet, Phivolcs aims to create a database of digital strong ground motion to support the updating and revision of the country’s National Structural Code.
Phivolcs aims to build 1,000 strong-motion stations across the country, said Grutas. The next ones will be set up in Baler, Aurora, and Malolos City in Bulacan.
The agency is also considering the feasibility of developing an effective earthquake early warning system, said Solidum.
“We are not predicting earthquakes per se, but if you have stations detecting an earthquake somewhere—and since the earthquake wave can still travel—with time and once the network is fully established, early warning can be given to areas where the earthquake has not struck yet,” he said.
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