Friday 10 February 2017

Magnitude 6.5 Earthquake off the north coast of Mindanao Island, The Philippines.

The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 6.5 Earthquake at a depth of 15 km about 10 km to the north of the city of Surigao in Surigao del Norte on northern Mindanao Island, Philippines, slightly after 10.20 pm local time (slightly after 2.20 pm GMT) on Friday 10 February 2017. The event was felt across a wide area of Mindanao, Bohol, Cebu, Negros and the several smaller islands. Two people were reportedly injured during this event, with minor damage reported to a number of buildings in Surigao.

Damage to the facade of the Parkway Hotel in Surigao City following the 10 February 2017 Earthquake. Danilo Adorador/Inquirer.

The geology of the central Philippines is Complex. The west of Mindanao Island is located on the Banda (or Sunda) Microplate, and the east on the Philippine Plate, which is being subducted beneath the Sunda (or Banda) Microplate along the central part of the island. Immediately to the east of the Island the Pacific Plate is being subducted along the Philippine Trench, and passes beneath eastern Mindanao as it sinks into the Earth. This is not a smooth process, an the plates constantly stick together then break apart again as the pressure builds up, resulting in Earthquakes.

Subduction beneath the Philippines. Yves Descatoire/Singapore Earth Observatory.

Witness accounts of Earthquakes can help geologists to understand these events, and the structures that cause them. The international non-profit organisation Earthquake Report is interested in hearing from people who may have felt this event; if you felt this quake then you can report it to Earthquake Report here.

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