The state-run Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has recorded close to 300 aftershocks since a magnitude 6.5 earthquake jolted Jaro, Leyte on Thursday afternoon.
Phivolcs said that since 9 a.m. Friday, 270 aftershocks have been recorded ranging from magnitude 1.5 to 4.3.
In a television interview, Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum said that while the earthquake southwest of Jaro was strong, the state-run agency did not consider it a major one.
Solidum said, however, that Phivolcs expected damage to property and infrastructure, especially in Kananga.
Solidum said that if the houses and buildings were not damaged, then people could go back but if there were visible signs, he advised them to ask the local building officials to inspect them.
Solidum said the earthquake’s depth of two kilometers was considered shallow and likely to cause more damage since the energy that had been released was stronger. He said the shallower the depth of the quake, the higher the intensity in the affected area.
He said the damage would be less if the quake was deeper.
Solidum said the earthquake in Jaro was linked to the “Leyte segment” of the Philippine Fault Line, an active fault that crosses several provinces in the Visayas.
The last earthquake that was triggered by the 1200-kilometer fault was recorded in 1947 and had a magnitude of 6.9.
Solidum said the softer and warmer rocks found in Leyte have protected the province against earthquakes over magnitude 7. ELSHAMAE ROBLES