NOTE: This is a repost from the original article written by Judy Partlow, Philippine News Agency
DUMAGUETE CITY, Philippines – It’s not over until it’s over, and so the saying goes. And until such time that the tectonic plates at the Negros-Sulu Trench will stabilize, the islands of Negros, Panay and nearby provinces will continue to experience tremors and aftershocks, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs)-Negros Oriental station.
Joe Molas of the Phivolcs station in Sibulan, Negros Oriental said that as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, a total of 103 aftershocks were recorded, following the main earthquake of 6.2 magnitude at 4:45 a.m. Tuesday.
Of the 103 tremors, 19 were felt by the people, with magnitudes of between 3 and 4 and with varying intensity levels depending on the location, Molas said.
The last felt earthquake on Tuesday was at 4:56 p.m. with a magnitude of 4.9, followed by at least 20 aftershocks, said Molas.
The epicenter remains almost in the same area in the vicinity of Sipalay City in Negros Occidental, the closest to the Negros Trench which currently has an active subduction zone, according to Molas.
All of the temblors were offshore and shallow, with a depth of focus starting at 17 kilometers and tectonic in origin, he said.
In the coming days, Phivolcs is expecting to record more quakes, although Molas admitted there is no way of telling whether there will be a major tremor. Nobody can predict earthquakes, he said.
Furthermore, there is no certainty when the Negros Trench tectonic plates will stop moving, Molas said.
But, he advised the public to stay calm and take the necessary precautions, and avoid causing undue panic.
If a ground earthquake occurs, focus on the three basic safety rules: duck, cover and hold.
If a quake is sea-based, then pay attention to signs of an approaching tsunami, such as a felt earthquake, the unusual receding or rising of sea water, and a rumbling sound of approaching waves.
Molas repeated that Phivolcs has not raised a tsunami alert warning in the coastal areas within the Negros Trench vicinity.
Earlier rumors of a tsunami sign in Basay, Negros Oriental, the furthest town in the south, turned out false. Reports had it the seawater of Basay had receded, however, upon verification, it was a natural low tide occurrence, said Molas.
The Civil Defense Coordinator of Negros Oriental, Allen Cabaron, is in close contact with the Risk Reduction Management Councils of Bayawan City and Basay to monitor possible signs of a locally generated tsunami.
Both councils were convened Tuesday to discuss preventative measures in the event a tsunami will arrive on the shores of Bayawan and Basay.
At press time, the Phivolcs seismograph continues to record minor tremors and Molas said he will be staying up all night as he is currently a one-man team assigned at the Sibulan seismography station.