Tsunami & Earthquake Philippines
Tsunami and earthquakes can happen anytime around the Pacific Ring of Fire - from California up and around Alaska down through Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines and Indonesia. The Philippines is no stranger to earthquakes - the Philippine archipelago was largely created by the tectonic squabble between the Eurasian and Pacific plates, forming the Philippine Plate as a distinct entity.
Latest Philippines Earthquake Activity 12-Mar-2014
The above image is reproduced from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) website; for image currency, refer to the date/time stamp at the top of the image.
Latest earthquake activity near Metro Manila: 18th Dec, 2014, magnitude 4.9, 14:46:11 GMT (22:46:11 local), duration 22 seconds, 99 miles North of Manila City, closest large habitation San Quintin, Pangasinan, felt in Metro Manila as magnitude 2.0+, no noticeable damage to structures. USGS earthquake info
The majority of Philippine earthquakes occur somewhere near the Philippines' Pacific East coast (especially the East coasts of Mindanao & Samar), where a significant tectonic subduction zone has created the second deepest ocean trench in the World - named the Philippine Deep or the Philippine Trench - with a depth greater than 34,000 feet! On 31st August, 2012, this area of the Philippines received a 7.6 magnitude earthquake along the Philippine Trench, East of Samar Island.
Just as in California, U.S.A., a measurable earthquake in the Philippines (greater than Magnitude 2.5) occurs almost every day somewhere, but most people are completely unaware of them - in the ten years from 1998 to 2008 only three earthquakes were felt slightly in Metro Manila, all three earthquakes resulted from seismic activity in the West Philippine Sea, along the geological fault that runs North - South off the West coast of Zambales province. It is rare to have an earthquake in the Philippines that measures greater than Magnitude 6.0.
The last significantly destructive earthquake in the Philippines occurred on 16th July, 1990, South of the mountain city of Baguio, Benguet province. The Baguio Earthquake was measured as Magnitude 7.8 and created a surface rupture measuring approximately 125km. Damage was apparent to buildings in the provinces of Benguet, Pangasinan, Nueva Viscaya, Nueva Ecija and Aurora. The attributable death toll from the 1990 Baguio Earthquake was in excess of 1,600 people.
Remember: earthquakes do not kill - buildings kill; explore the Philippines' beautiful beaches, rivers, mountains and rain forests, instead of its cities.
Historic Philippine Earthquake Information
For detailed historic Philippine earthquake / seismic event information plus: seismic events / earthquakes during the past seven days, earthquake maps, earthquake graphics and related technical data we recommend: U.S. Geological Survey Earthquake Hazards Program
The Marikina Fault
The most significant, historic earthquake zone (geological fault) in the Philippines is located just 10km East of Manila City and is known as the "Marikina Valley Fault" or, frequently, "Marikina Fault". Archaeological evidence tells us that the Marikina Fault earthquake zone, that runs almost North-South along the Marikina Valley, and almost exactly parallels the route of the C-5 circumferential road around Metro Manila, slips every 200-400 years (average every 310 years) delivering a magnitude 6.0-7.0 earthquake (maximum estimated 7.5). The last time the Marikina Fault earthquake zone slipped is calculated to have been in 1863AD, meaning that this geological fault is not due for another movement for about 50 more years, on average. But a better-safe-than-sorry philosophy suggests even more reasons to chill out on the beaches, especially around Puerto Galera.
Tsunami in the Philippines are extremely rare.
The last measurable tsunami in the Philippines affected the northern and the eastern seaboards on 11th March, 2011. In that event, tsunami waves of around half a meter, resulting from a relatively shallow and very large 8.9 magnitude earthquake off the coast off Miyagi prefecture, Honshu, Japan, arrived in the early evening and caused little or no damage, and no loss of life.
Prior to March 2011, the last recorded tsunami in the Philippines, that actually caused loss of life, occurred in the Verde Island Passage (between Batangas & Mindoro Island, affecting Puerto Galera) in the early morning of 15th November 1994, originating from a 7.1 magnitude (Richter) earthquake, 11 KM West of the Baco Islands, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology. The tsunami waves, resulting from the 7.1 magnitude earthquake, were measured at 6 meters in many areas when they reached land, but up to 8.5 meters in a few locations (primarily the Baco islands) where the bathymetry was favorable; the tsunami waves reached up to 250 meters inland in areas that faced the earthquake epicenter. The death toll was 41 people.
For current and recent tsunami warnings for the Pacific and Indian Ocean: U.S. National Weather Service Pacific & Indian Ocean Tsunami Warnings Center