DECEMBER 16, 2019 – A little known fault line on the southern island of Mindanao, known as Tangbulan, has likely caused the powerful earthquake which shook Davao region and killed four people, the head of state seismologist agency said on Monday.
Renato Solidum, chief of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) on Monday said they are closely looking into what could have triggered the movement in Tangbulan Fault, which runs along Davao del Sur.
The movement had caused a magnitude 6.9 temblor on Sunday afternoon near Matanao town in Davao del Sur, sending people to panic in shopping malls in the region.
“Aaralin namin kung ang serye ng paglindol noong Oktober ay nag-trigger rito,” Solidum told Radyo Singko’s Early All Radio show. “Mukhang may distansya. Hindi naman sila magkalapit. Sa tingin namin itong Tangbulan Fault ang kumilo. Base sa lokasyon ng epicenter at haba ng fault, kaya niyang magdulot ng magnitude 6.9 na lindol.”
The tremor was felt in Davao City at intensity 5 and in other parts of Mindanao.
It is still unclear if the latest quake is directly related to the series of temblors that hit Cotabato region in October. The powerful quakes left 30 people dead and displaced thousands who remained in shelter areas.
Disaster agency officials said rescue efforts continued in a collapsed structure in Padada town where some bodies were pinned under tons of concrete floors and walls in a grocery.
Four people were reported killed, including a six-year-old girl when a wall of her house gave in and struck her.
At the Vatican, a prayer for safety from earthquake was mentoned in a dawn mass at the start if nine-day novena, known as “Simbang Gabi”, a Filipino tradition since the 17th century. The mass celebrated by Pope Francis partly in Tagalog and a Filipino choir sang in local language.
The PHIVOLCS recorded over 400 aftershocks as of early Monday morning since the magnitude 6.9 quake rattled Matanao town. More than 40 of these were felt, Solidum said.
The Philippines, located in the Pacific rim of fire, experienced hundreds of earthquakes every year but only a few were felt. The most destructive in latest history was recorded in 1990 when a 7.7 magnitude rocked Luzon.
In 2013, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake in Bohol destroyed old churches and damages major infrastructures.
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