Due to being located in the tectonically active Pacific Ring of Fire, the Philippine archipelago has always been at the potential mercy of the natural disasters that this implies: volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and by extension, tsunamis. The most tangible and long-term mark of this location on the country’s landmasses are the various faults created by the Philippine Sea tectonic plate. One concentration of these faults is along the eastern part of Mindanao. That pretty much explains the frequency of earthquakes being felt at Davao Oriental over the passing of the New Year. In fact, there was another one just today.

Indeed, reports that another earthquake rocked the early morning in Mindanao, particularly the province of Davao Oriental, this January 16 at around 4:03 AM. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) detected the epicenter of the tremor out at sea just southeast of the Davao Oriental municipality of Governor Generoso, at the tip of the peninsula that forms the eastern part of Davao Gulf. It was rated at Intensity IV which equates to about magnitude 5.9, or 5.7 in the measurements of the US Geological Survey. The quake was, as expected, tectonic with a depth of 114 kilometers.

That might be the reason why not many people were bothered in the wee hours of Wednesday, or were any significant infrastructure damage reported this time. The Intensity IV reading was felt in an area from Davao City to Josefa, Agusan Del Sur to the north. Moving further west, the tremor was reduced to Intensity III in Alabel, capital of Sarangani Province. Intensity II was recorded variously here in GenSan, and in places like Kiamba, Sarangani and Tupi, South Cotabato. Ultimately, only Intensity I managed to reach T’boli, South Cotabato, though Cebu City also managed to catch that on seismometers.

It should be noted that this is not an originating earthquake as it is; rather, PHIVOLCS marks it down as only another notable aftershock of the stronger, magnitude 7.2, tremor that shook Governor Generoso from its epicenter at sea towards the end of December 2018 at the 28th. The aftershocks have been happening in near-regular frequency ever since. The first distinct one was just a day following the main quake, then twice more earlier this January before this latest tremor on record. And according to PHIVOLCS, these aftershocks may not even be over just yet.

Image courtesy of CNN Philippines

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