The Philippines were shaken to its core after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattled Central Visayas, particularly Bohol and Cebu, on Tuesday morning. The temblor is the strongest to strike the island country this year, but studies suggested that powerful quakes will occur in the future.
The Philippines is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area where large numbers of volcanic eruptions and earthquake occur. Apparently, this belt of oceanic trenches and volcanic arcs has been ripe for the past few years and it's ready to unleash havoc across the Pacific Rim.
The fatal quakes in Sumatra, Haiti, New Zealand and Japan were just previews of bigger temblor yet to come in a region shaken by at least 300 quakes per day. Stronger earthquakes could happen any time as tectonic plates continue to rub against each other, producing energy multiple times more powerful than a nuclear bomb.
According to latest report by Fox News, the 7.2 Central Visayan Earthquake has already claimed 20 lives with 15 deaths in Cebu, four in Bohol and one in Siquijor. Buildings and Spanish era Churches also crumbled down due to the devastating temblor, which reportedly took place at 8:12 am with the epicenter located 2 kilometers southeast of Carmen, Bohol.
However, there is far more violent seismic event scientists are anticipating to happen in the Philippines and this one could paralyze the entire nation's capital.
The West Valley Fault, a group of dextral strike-slip faults that extends from San Mateo Rizal to the Taguig City on the South, is on the brink of releasing a great amount energy that could potentially be deadly for the population in Metro Manila.
"It can happen within our generation or the next generation," Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology director Solidum told GMA News.
If the tectonic plates comprising the West Valley Fault move against each other, the expected quake could be as strong as 7.2 intensity magnitude, which is enough to kill 35,000 to 120,000 people with more than 3 million people needed to be evacuated.
Moreover, a study released by marine geologist Chris Goldfinger at Oregon State University in Corvallis indicated that an intensity 9.0 or stronger 'superquakes' could happen in faults that haven't had major quakes for longer period of time.
According to Professor Solidum, the last time an earthquake happened along the West Valley Fault is roughly 355 years ago in 1658.
"The fault has moved four times in the past 1,400 years. On average, it moves every 400 years, "+/- 10 to 100 years, maybe", Solidum says. The last time an earthquake occurred along the West Valley fault was in 1658, around 355 years ago."
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