Thursday 6 July 2017

Magnitude 6.5 Earthquake under Layte Island, The Philippines, killsat least two.

The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 6.5 Earthquake at a depth of 6.5 km,eight kilometers to the west of the town of Jaro on Leyte Island, The Philippines, slightly after 4.00 pm local time (slightly after 4.00 pm GMT), on Thursday 6 July 2017. At least two people have died following this event, one in a landslide triggered by the Earthquake in Ormoc, and another in a shopping center that collapsed in Kananga; a number of other people are believed to be trapped within the building, and it is feared that the death tole may rise.

Cars trapped beneath a collapsed shopping centre in Kananga, Leyte, on 6 July 2017. ABS.CBN.

The geology of the Philippines is complex, with the majority of the islands located on the east of the Sunda Plate. To the east of this lies the Philippine Sea plate, which is being subducted beneath the Sunda Plate (a breakaway part of the Eurasian Plate); further east, in the Mariana Islands, the Pacific Plate is being subducted beneath the Philippine Sea Plate. This is not a smooth process, and the rocks of the tectonic plates frequently stick together before eventually being broken apart by the rising pressure, leading to Earthquakes in the process. Material from the subducting Philippine Plate is heated by the temperature of the Earth's interior, causing lighter minerals to melt and the resultant magma to rise through the overlying Sunda Plate, fueling the volcanoes of the Philippines.
 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.
The approximate location of the 6 July 2017 Leyte Earthquake. USGS.
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