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ACCORDING TO PHIVOLCS: ‘A stronger quake is possible in Bicol’

By Celso Amo LEGAZPI CITY --- A stronger earthquake is possible in Bicol according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs). This, as Phivolcs Director and Undersecretary Renato Solidum of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) reported that at least 45 aftershocks were monitored around the epicenter of the moderately strong earthquake that hit Bicol Saturday (May 5) afternoon. He said numerous aftershocks are normal occurrences after a strong quake. Last Saturday’s earthquake was of tectonic origin. It was felt in Albay, Sorsogon, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Catanduanes, and Masbate. “It’s still possible [that] a stronger quake [may occur],” Solidum said as he explained that earthquakes measured at Magnitude 6 do not trigger a tsunami but that of Magnitude 7 does. “It’s still possible for a stronger quake higher than Magnitude 6 because our scenario at the Philippine Trench [could trigger] up to Magnitude 8 which is a strong quake and when this happens due to strong ground shake, buildings will be severely affected and a tsunami may follow suit.” He said we should be thankful that the epicenter of Saturday’s earthquake was at the sea. He said the epicenter was located 69 kilometers north of Pandan town of Catanduanes and had a depth of 21 kilometers which was caused by the movement of the Philippine Trench north of Catanduanes and east of [the province of] Aurora. Solidum went on to explain the difference between intensity and magnitude. Intensity or ground shake is stronger near the epicenter. He compared the magnitude of the quake to the boxer’s punch while intensity refers to its impact on the opponent. “If the damage is what we are after, the intensity of a quake is important,” Solidum said. He explained the epicenter of last Saturday’s quake was located at an intersection between the Philippine Trench and a fault. He urged the authorities to be ready to evacuate those residing near the shorelines when there is a tsunami alert. Meanwhile, Legazpi Mayor Noel Rosal has ordered the city engineering office to inspect various buildings in the city for any structural damage. “We are going to inspect various malls here especially the cinemas,” said Rosal as he asked residents to report any damage observed in their area. Pacific Mall Legazpi was closed to shoppers after the quake struck 2:19 p.m. on Saturday last week. Lucy Castañeda, spokesperson of the regional office of the Department of Public Works and Highways, said there was no reported damage to various infrastructures in the region such as highways, bridges and buildings.

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