Tuesday 5 December 2023

Magnitude 7.4 Earthquake off Mindanao Island, the Philippines.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology recorded a Magnitude 7.4 Earthquake at a depth of 26 km about 29 km to the east of  the town of Hinatuan in Surigao del Sur Province on Mindanao Island, Philippines, slightly after 10.35 pm local time (slightly after 2.35 pm GMT) on Sunday 2 December 2023. Three people have been reported dead following the Earthquake, with another eight injured. The event  was felt across the southeastern Philippines, and triggered a tsunami warning in parts of the Philippines and Japan, although in the event no major wave damage occurred. The initial event has been followed by a series of large aftershocks, some of which have had magnitudes in excess of 6.0.

The location of the 2 December 2023 Mindanao Earthquake. USGS.

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.

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