A magnitude 5.7 earthquake struck parts of Surigao del Sur on Wednesday evening, January 17, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS).
The seismic earthquake, happening at 8:31 pm, was documented 48 kilometers northeast of Hinatuan town, with a focal depth of 10 km. PHIVOLCS identified it as an aftershock stemming from a magnitude 7.4 tremor on December 2.
PHIVOLCS Director Teresito C. Bacolcol stated that they have registered a cumulative count of 7,926 aftershocks since December 2.
He also mentioned that it might take some time for the ground to stabilize, particularly considering the significant intensity of the initial earthquake. Although the quake is anticipated to result in damage, there are no anticipated aftershocks.
PHIVOLCS predicts that the earthquake is expected to result in damage. Reports indicate that there was a strong intensity (Intensity V) in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur, and a weak intensity (Intensity III) in Cagwait, Surigao del Sur.
The felt intensity refers to the perception of ground shaking as reported by individuals using the PHIVOLCS Earthquake Intensity Scale. On the other hand, instrumental intensity is the measurement of ground shaking recorded by intensity meters situated in and around the epicentral area.
The Philippines is located in the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an area where tectonic plates intersect, leading to frequent occurrences of earthquakes and volcanic activity.
Earthquakes happen when the stress along the Earth’s edges surpasses the friction, resulting in the release of energy in the form of waves that traverse through the Earth’s crust, leading to the shaking sensation that we perceive.
The National Disaster Management Authority has emphasized the importance of following the earthquake safety guidelines, urging individuals to DROP to the ground, seek COVER under a sturdy table or furniture, and HOLD ON until the shaking stops.
If there is no table or desk nearby, it is advised to protect the face and head with arms and crouch in an interior corner of the building.