271 aftershocks recorded in wake of magnitude 7.6 earthquake
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) has recorded 271 aftershocks in Visayas and Mindanao following the magnitude 7.6 temblor that shook Eastern Samar on Friday night.
Of the aftershocks, 153 were recorded on Saturday morning, some 12 hours after the major tremor.
Phivolcs director Renato Solidum pointed out that the aftershocks may last for several weeks or months after Friday’s major earthquake, the epicenter of which was estimated at 10.83°north, 126.71°east to 112 kilometers South 78° east off Guiuan in Eastern Samar.
As a result of the tremor, the earthquake was felt at Intensity 7 in Guian, Oras, Sulat, General MacArthur, Llorente, all in Eastern Samar, as well as Borongan and Tacloban Cities; at Intensity 6 in San Julian in Eastern Samar, Palo in Leyte, Siargao Island and Surigao del Norte; Intensity 5 in Saint Bernard and Hinunangan in Southern Leyte, San Policarpo in Eastern Samar, Bobon in Northern Samar, Kananga town in Leyte, Mati City, Compostela in Compostela Valley, Legaspi City, Iloilo City, Bislig City, Davao City, Cateel in Davao Oriental, Roxas City, Sorsogon City, Panganiban in Catanduanes, Dueno in Bohol, Talibon in Bohol, and Tagbilaran City.
Intensity 7 means the earthquake is so strong people find it hard to keep standing, cars are shaking, furniture are breaking. Intensity 6 means everyone feels the shaking and people find it hard to walk. The earthquake is strong enough to dislodge pictures from the walls, move furniture and cause plaster on walls to crack. Intensity 5 means almost everybody feels the shaking and the earthquake is strong enough to wake up sleeping people and make doors move.
Solidum said that three strong aftershocks happened within an hour of the major tectonic earthquake, the strongest of which was measured at magnitude 6.8.
“The initial aftershocks are expected to be strong but will lessen in magnitude and frequency after some time,” he told the Inquirer, adding that it would be similar to the aftermath of the February 6 magnitude 6.9 quake that shook Negros Oriental and several nearby provinces.
He said that Phivolcs recorded hundreds of aftershocks, most of which were felt in the area because the epicenter was in land. “The aftershocks here are hardly felt because the epicenter is at sea and far from land,” he explained adding that the distance caused the energy generated by the temblor to dissipate.
Solidum stressed that strong magnitude quakes should remind the public to be on alert for future earthquakes. “It should remind us that it can happen anytime so we should always be prepared,” he said.
It is still impossible to predict earthquakes, but people now have an idea of where they could originate and where they could happen, according to Solidum.
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