Residents of Candelaria, Zambales, a known tourist destination, were alarmed after a portion of a beach collapsed on Saturday afternoon causing the sea to move inland, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) reported over the weekend.
MGB Director Leo Jasareno said that they are still investigating the cause of the collapse of the shoreline, which slumped at a depth of two meters.
“This may be a natural phenomenon. There may have been soil erosion because of the strength of the tidal waves or there may be a sinkhole,” Jasareno said, citing initial results of the investigation.
Based on reports, the beach area of Puerto del Mar in Candelaria collapsed around 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. About 80 meters to 100 meters of the beach slumped by about two meters and the sea moved landward by about 10 meters.
“The shoreline collapsed started as small then becoming elongate trending north. It started from a central point progressing northwards and southwards approximate length of 80 [meters to]100 meters,” Jasareno said in a text message.
“The shoreline collapse coincided with low tide,” he added.
There were no fatalities reported as a result of the phenomenon, but Jasareno said that the Philippine Army is now securing the area.
Also, authorities are prohibiting swimming and other activities on the beach.
During the incident, Jasareno said that the sea became brown and emitted fine gas bubbles with a sulfurous odor.
Jasareno said an eight-man team composed of MGB geologists was expected to arrive at the site Sunday to determine the exact cause of the slump.
“We will also be determining if the same phenomenon is occurring in nearby areas,” he said, saying that the team was given three days to come up with a definitive result.
There are no magnetite mining operations in the area.