Residents of Mindanao have been in a period of trepidation regarding earthquakes since late last year. One might still remember the October 16 tremor measuring 6.3 in magnitude in the area of Tulunan, Cotabato province. It caused landslides in the countryside and structural damage even far from the epicenter, as the partially gutted Gaisano Mall of GenSan could attest to. Successive earthquakes of comparable magnitude since then have not made things feel better for Mindanaoans in the seismological sense, though that dread has since been displaced by COVID-19. Recently however, a new string of earthquakes are bringing the memories back.
CNN Philippines reports that in the wee hours of Sunday, August 2, the province of Maguindanao was rocked by an earthquake comparable to the October 16, 2019 event in Tulunan. According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), the epicenter of the quake was recorded east of Cotabato City by 13 kilometers, where the shaking began on 1:08 AM. Initially clocking at magnitude 6.1 the tremors intensified to magnitude 6.4 from a depth of 543 kilometers. The institute determined that the quake was tectonic in nature, and some property damage was reported in Cotabato City in the aftermath.
The bad vibrations were felt outward of Cotabato City and Maguindanao as well. For the Sarangani municipalities of Alabel and Malungon, they felt an Intensity II shaking, while Intensity I was observed in Kiamba, in Tupi and Koronadal of South Cotabato, and in GenSan itself, not enough to awaken sleepers. PHIVOLCS adds that while aftershocks are expected, they will not be enough to inflict damage. In addition the state seismology agency assured that this earthquake had nothing to do with the earlier tremor that struck mere days ago at the waters off Hinatuan, Surigao Del Sur last week, July 31.
That earthquake was determined to have originated from movement along the underwater Mindanao Trench in the afternoon of last Friday, 2:06 PM. The closest locale of Hinatuan registered a magnitude of 5.8, though even within the same province the shaking was quick to taper off further inland. Bislig City felt Intensity III, with Intensity II Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental and Intensity I in Surigao City and other various locales like Tupi, Malungon, Alabel, Kidapawan City, Cotabato and Cagayan de Oro.
Following these consecutive if unrelated earthquakes of near-similar magnitude, PHIVOLCS has issued a public advisory in the affected communities to self-check for any potential signs of seismic damage to their properties and infrastructure so that they may be addressed early.
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