Tues Oct 15, 2013: Magnitude 7.2 Earthquake
The energy released by the magnitude-7.2 earthquake that rocked the Visayas and Mindanao Tuesday morning was equivalent “32 Hiroshima bombs,” the country’s top seismologist said.
Director Renato Solidum of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that the earthquake was the strongest felt in the Visayas and Mindanao in 23 years, leaving at least 49 people dead and rattling many who were celebrating a religious holiday.
Solidum said that the movement of the East Bohol fault triggered the tremor, which occurred at 8:12 a.m. with its epicenter located two kilometers southeast of the town of Carmen in Bohol. It occurred 33 kilometers below the surface of the earth, he said.
At least 15 were killed in the city of Cebu, four were killed in the province of Bohol and one died in the province of Siquijor, said Maj. Reynaldo Balido,a spokesman for the Philippines Office of Civil Defense. Most of those killed were hit by falling rubble, the Philippines News Agency reported.
At least 33 people were missing, and authorities were checking into reports of people trapped in collapsed buildings in Cebu and Bohol, the agency reported. Another 164 were injured, authorities said.
The quake was centered about 385 miles (619 kilometers) south-southeast of Manila, near Catigbian, and its depth was 12 miles (20 kilometers), according to the U.S. Geological Survey said.
An earthquake with a magnitude of 7 or 8 is considered major and can cause considerable damage near the epicenter. Shallow-seated or near-surface major earthquakes when they occur under the sea, may generate tsunamis. Tuesday morning’s quake did not trigger a tsunami.
The strongest recorded earthquake to hit Luzon had a magnitude 7.9 and struck on July 16, 1990, with its epicenter near Rizal town in Nueva Ecija. An estimated 1,600 people were killed in the temblor. That quake devastated Baguio City and caused extensive damage in Pangasinan and Nueva Ecija.
Asked how he would describe the strength of Tuesday’s earthquake, Solidum said, “The magnitude, the energy released by the quake is equivalent to 32 Hiroshima bombs.” Solidum added that he expected more aftershocks to follow the major tremor.
As of noon Tuesday, Phivolcs recorded 137 aftershocks in Carmen and Tagbilaran towns in Bohol the strongest of which had a magnitude of 4.3 and occurred at 9:37 a.m. It was felt at Intensity IV in Tagbilaran City.