By Ma. Cristina Arayata
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – There is nothing to worry about the magnitude 7.1 quake that jolted Davao Occidental on the night of January 21, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) Director Renato Solidum Jr. said Friday.
“Yes (there is nothing to worry about it). It has ended and it did not cause damage, and there was no tsunami,” he told the Philippine News Agency in an interview.
The magnitude 7.1 quake, considered a major earthquake, was deep at 111 km. below surface, and more than 200 km. southeast of Davao Occidental.
“Hence, there was no tsunami threat as typically, earthquake generating tsunamis are less than 50 km. in depth. The earthquake was also not damaging as the shaking intensity resulting from the earthquake was not destructive due to the depth and distance to land,” Solidum explained.
The magnitude 7.1 quake struck near the boundary of the Philippines and Indonesia, he added.
Phivolcs recorded that Intensity 5 was felt in General Santos City. Solidum earlier said that damage starts at Intensity 6 based on Phivolcs’ scale.
He said the January 21 earthquake was most likely generated by the movement along the Philippine Trench.
Even if the quake was not destructive, Solidum advises the public to be prepared for strong earthquakes.
“Residents in an earthquake-prone area should prepare for strong earthquakes and tsunamis (for those in coastal areas). Buildings should conform to building and structural codes,” he noted.
The Phivolcs chief also advised people to participate in preparedness exercises, and that coastal community should identify tsunami refuge or evacuation sites.
As of 9 a.m. Friday, Phivolcs has recorded 26 aftershocks, ranging from magnitude 2.8 to magnitude 4.2. None of the 26 aftershocks were felt, based on their record.
“In many cases, the aftershocks can be very small,” he said.
Meanwhile, Solidum said this was not the first time a magnitude 7 earthquake hit the country in recent years.
“North of the epicenter last night, along the Philippine Trench, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake happened in December 2018. In 2017, there was also a major earthquake offshore of Sarangani province,” he said.
A magnitude 7.2 quake also struck 53 km. southwest of Sarangani in Davao Occidental in 2017. (PNA)