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After series of tremors No ‘big quake’ in Negros Or — Phivolcs

Judy Flores Partlow (The Freeman) - February 8, 2018 - 12:00am

DUMAGUETE CITY, Philippines — The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) main office on Monday denied that, contrary to last week’s report, it issued a warning that Negros Oriental will possibly experience a potential bigger earthquake following the ongoing series of tremors.

Ishmael Narag, who heads the Seismological Observation and Earthquake Prediction Division (SOEPD) of Phivolcs, gave the assurance in a phone interview Monday as residents of Valencia, Negros Oriental, and other nearby areas have expressed concern while others are already in panic due to the report.

Others are complaining that the report last week is causing confusion because of the conflicting statements of Phivolcs officials. “There is no cause for alarm amid the ongoing series of earthquakes in Valencia and nearby areas,” Narag further assured.

Public sentiments were spreading on social media even as local government officials here have also denied having received such warning from Phivolcs.

Narag said he will find out from the Phivolcs source who gave the information to the government media reporter which led to the publication of the news report about a potential “big earthquake” in Negros Oriental.

Narag assured the people here that the constant seismic activities in Valencia and neighboring towns are being closely monitored, and that there is no imminent danger at present.

Phivolcs is also analyzing data on the probable cause of the “surge” of earthquakes of various magnitudes over the past weeks, mostly recorded in Valencia town but some with a reference point in nearby Dauin town, he said.

The strongest one was recorded at Magnitude 4.7 in Dauin last January 27 and was felt in Dumaguete City and Sibulan at Intensity IV. Other tremors varied in magnitudes, mostly less than Magnitude 3, Phivolcs records show.

As of Monday morning, the local Phivolcs seismic monitoring station in Sibulan, Negros Oriental, headed by Engineer Jose Molas has reported more than 100 tremors since January 1st this year.

The most number of earthquake events within one day was pegged at 28, recorded between 8 a.m. on February 1 and 8 a.m. on February 2, Molas said, and more tremors were recorded over the weekend, with at least eight events as of Monday morning.

While Molas initially described this as an “earthquake swamp,” his superior, Narag explained that Phivolcs could not conclude it as such yet because the “surge” of tremors in the past several days does not quite fit the definition of an earthquake swamp.

Besides, Phivolcs is also analyzing data to determine whether the January 27 strong tremor was the main shock, and the succeeding tremors were aftershocks, while the quakes that took place on the same day but at an earlier time were foreshocks, Narag said.

The earthquakes, which Phivolcs describe as tectonic in origin, are taking place in the Sibulan fault line, which leads to the southwest of the province.

Narag however recommended that local government units be on alert for potential landslides and the loosening of rocks and boulders due to the continuous shaking in the past several days and weeks. PNA (FREEMAN)

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