Today there were a series of quakes in the Philippines, causing heavy damage, mudslides and many deaths. I expect the death toll to rise over the coming days. It started as a magnitude 7 which has been followed by a series of over 200 aftershocks which will continue for months.
The hardest hit area is Guihulngan with major buildings like the courthouse and the market destroyed along with houses and other buildings. Power and phone lines are out in many areas and it will be days before the extent of the damage is known completely.
The original quake was middle depth at 20 km but most of the aftershocks are not as deep and so may be causing more damage. Cebu, a city 50 km from the epicenter had damage to windows, cracks in buildings and some infrastructure.
This quake is on the far side of the Philippines to the Philippine trench subduction zone. And at this location with the quakes being shallow it is not a part of that trench system that ruptured but a surface fault connected to the set of transform faults within the islands. This is unlike say the Japan quake from last year but more like the Christchurch quakes in New Zealand. As the tectonic plates move around they run into each other, some places sliding under others and in some places trying to mush the surface around to relieve the pressure.
The Philippines just got mushed.
- Strong quake in Philippines, 43 dead (news.smh.com.au)
- Philippines Earthquake 44 People Killed (livingstrongandhappy.blogspot.com)