Global warming and the extreme heat due to El Niño phenomenon could not trigger the occurrence of earthquakes, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said Friday.
The origin of a quake is just too deep to be affected by extreme weather conditions, said Mylene Enriquez, PHIVOLCS seismologist.
“Quakes are just normal. On the average, there are about 20 tremors a day. It just so happened that the active faults were the ones that recently moved, triggering tremors of bigger magnitudes,” she told the Manila Standard.
Enriquez dispelled speculation that “the end of the world is already approaching.”
“Of course not,” she said. “People just don’t notice that quakes do happen every day.”
She also said the increase in the frequency of earthquakes does not necessarily mean a bigger one is going to happen.
A magnitude-5.3 earthquake rocked Surigao del Norte Friday at 1:26 p.m., with its epicenter located 71 kilometers southeast of General Luna. Intensity 2 was felt in Gingoog City and Intensity 1 in Surigao City.
PHIVOLCS recorded 54 aftershocks, Enriquez said.
A magnitude-4 earthquake shook Leyte province on Friday morning, PHIVOLCS said.
There was no expected damage and aftershocks from the temblor that struck 7 kilometers. northeast of Albuera, Leyte at 10:44 a.m.
The earthquake was felt at Intensity 3 in Ormoc City and nearby towns. There was no immediate report of damage or injuries due to the quake, PHIVOLCS said.
The fault line that moved is within the Leyte Island fault line, which is part of the 1,200-km.-long Philippine fault zone, a major tectonic feature that transects the whole Philippine archipelago from northwestern Luzon to southeastern Mindanao.
The ground shaking occurred three days after the magnitude-6.5 earthquake in San Julian, Eastern Samar that rocked Eastern Visayas province Tuesday afternoon.
The tectonic quake, with a depth of 17 km., struck 19 km. northwest of the coastal town of San Julian, located 163 km. northeast of Tacloban.
The fault line in San Julian town moved 22 times with reported intensities from Tuesday afternoon to Friday morning. The strongest aftershock was just an hour after the strong quake at magnitude 4.6. The latest was recorded at 9:48 a.m. at magnitude 2.4.
At 3 a.m. Friday, a magnitude 4.4 earthquake jolted Ilocos Norte, PHIVOLCS said. The tremor’s epicenter, was traced to10 kilometers southwest of San Nicolas town. Intensity 4 was felt in San Nicolas while Intensity 3 was felt in Sarrat. The tremor was also felt in Sinait and Vigan City in Ilocos Sur and Pasuquin and Laoag City in Ilocos Norte.
Since Tuesday, earthquakes have been recorded in different parts of Eastern Visayas, such as in San Julian town; Hinabangan, Samar; Hinundayan, Southern Leyte; Guiuan, Eastern Samar; and Albuera, Leyte.
The presence of the active Philippine Fault Zone and lineaments has made 29 towns and cities in Eastern Visayas prone to earthquakes, PHIVOLCS said.
Magnitude measures the energy released from the source of the quake while intensity measures the strength of shaking produced by the earthquake at a certain location.
The death toll from Monday’s 6.1 magnitude that struck Castillejos, Zambales, has risen to 18, nine of them from the collapsed Chuzon Supermarket in Porac, Pampanga. Some 282 people were injured while seven remain missing.
The number of affected families were placed at 3,205, which is equivalent to 14,901 individuals residing in 13 cities and municipalities in Region III.
Of these, 909 families or 3,381 persons are being aided inside six evacuation centers while 951 families, which is equivalent to 4,756 individuals are being helped outside. Also, the number of damaged houses was placed at 1,230, with 156 totally wrecked and 1,074 partially, in Bataan and Pampanga.
The number of damaged structures and buildings in Region I, III, the National Capital Region and Calabarzon was placed at 334.
The number of persons injured in the magnitude-6.5 earthquake that rocked San Julian, Eastern Samar on Tuesday has climbed to 40, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said in its 6 a.m. update Friday.
About 93 families or 372 persons living in 18 barangays in Samar and Eastern Samar were affected by the earthquake.
The NDRRMC also reported that 92 houses were damaged, four destroyed and 88 damaged, in Samar and Eastern Samar provinces.
Police, meanwhile, said they were gathering evidence to file a case against those responsible for the collapse of the Chuzon Supermarket where at least nine people died following Monday’s strong earthquake.
Charges would include negligence resulting in multiple homicide and physical injuries, police said. With PNA