Phivolcs exec wants Valencia‘earthquake swarm’ probed

Judy Flores Partlow (The Freeman) - February 4, 2018 - 12:00am

DUMAGUETE CITY, Philippines —The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) in Negros Oriental has confirmed that a swarming of earthquakes in the past week has been recorded in the municipality of Valencia.

Jose Molas, science research specialist and OIC chief of the Phivolcs Seismic Station in Sibulan, Negros Oriental, disclosed Friday that the latest recorded tremors numbered 28, between 8 a.m. Thursday through 8 a.m. Friday.

An earthquake swarm is described as an event where a local area experiences a series of earthquakes within a relatively short period of time.

The earthquakes, of tectonic origin, were plotted to be in almost the same location in Valencia, said Molas.

According to Molas, the unusual occurrence of several earthquakes in the past days from January 27 to February 2 in Valencia needs to be validated by experts who will determine the cause of these tremors.

Molas has already recommended in his daily and weekly reports that the Phivolcs main office send a Quick Response Team (QRT) to Valencia to set up instruments to plot out these earthquakes and investigate what activities could be taking place in this mountain town.

Mt. Talinis is found in Valencia, which, according to Molas is classified by Phivolcs as an inactive volcano.

Molas, meanwhile, declined to comment on the possible presence of an earthquake fault in the area, saying it is the Phivolcs national office that has the authority to issue an official statement on this.

The Phivolcs station in Sibulan has recorded several earthquakes occurring daily in Valencia with varying and mostly small magnitudes since January 27, according to Molas.

On January 27, the Phivolcs reported the strongest quake so far during the past week at Magnitude 4.7 earthquake, which was felt in Dumaguete City and Sibulan at Intensity 4. The succeeding days also recorded earthquakes of different magnitudes and frequency, but with locations almost in the same area, Phivolcs records show.

Asked whether there will be more earthquakes in the coming days, Molas said earthquakes can never be predicted. As early as January 1, though, the Phivolcs had also monitored and recorded an earthquake event in Valencia but it is only this week that the series of tremors occurred frequently, he said.

Residents in Valencia have posted on social media about the constant ground shaking in their town, with some of them expressing concern and describing the events as “alarming.”

Molas is hopeful that the Phivolcs national office can send a team to investigate this soon, considering that most of their personnel are now deployed in Albay because of the eruption of Mayon Volcano.

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