Philippines earthquake: Strong tremor hits Leyte island

PUBLISHED Thu, July 06, 2017 - 4:16am EDT
Credit: Google

A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.5 has struck Leyte island in the Philippines, with shaking felt widely across the region, seismologists and residents say. No tsunami warnings have been issued. (more)

The earthquake, which struck at 4:04 p.m. local time on Thursday, was centered about 2.6 kilometers (1.6 mile) from Canhandugan, or 22 kilometers (13 miles) southwest of Tacloban City. It struck at a depth of just 6.5 kilometers (4 miles), making it a very shallow earthquake.

The U.S. Seismological Survey (USGS) and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology put the preliminary magnitude at 6.5, down from an initial estimate of 6.9 from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

Shaking has been felt across the region, but there were no immediate reports of serious damage or casualties. An estimated 3.9 million people live within 100 kilometers (62 miles) of the earthquake's epicenter.

Computer models from the USGS showed that as many as 22 million people across the region may have felt Thursday's earthquake, including 11,000 people who may have felt "severe" shaking and 1.3 million who may have felt "strong" to "very strong" shaking.

The worst shaking was felt in Tacloban City, Palo, and Cebu City, but strong shaking was also felt in Tolosa in Leyte, Sagay City in Negros Occidental, and Burgos in Surigao del Norte. Some damage is expected.

The Philippines is on the so-called 'Pacific Ring of Fire', an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Basin which is prone to frequent and large earthquakes. Volcanic eruptions also occur frequently in the region.

A powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck the province of Bohol in October 2013, killing at least 222 people and injuring nearly 1,000 others. A year earlier, a 6.7-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Negros Oriental, killing at least 51 people.

Other earthquakes in recent history in the Philippines include a powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake which struck the densely populated island of Luzon in July 1990, killing at least 2,412 people and injuring thousands more. It was one of the most deadly earthquakes in the Philippines in recent history.

Only more deadly was an 8.1-magnitude earthquake in August 1976 which shook Mindanao island and had its epicenter in the Moro Gulf. It generated a destructive tsunami in the Celebes Sea, causing devastation in settlements along the coast of the Moro Gulf on Mindanao island and on the nearby Sulu Islands.

The earthquake in August 1976 was felt on all of the central islands of the Philippines Archipelago and in the southern part of Luzon. As a result of the earthquake and tsunami, more than 8,000 people were killed or left missing, 10,000 were injured, and 90,000 were left homeless.






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