Phivolcs: Smoke just ‘dust clouds’

PORAC, Pampanga -- People in Pampanga who have been bothered by reports of volcanic activity at Mount Pinatubo can now rest their worries.

This, as the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) assured over the week that there have been no signs of volcanic unrest at Mount Pinatubo.

Worries of volcanic activity have been going around in the wake of the magnitude 6.1 earthquake that shook Central Luzon.

The ash and smoke that residents said the active volcano spewed after the quake on April 22 were “dust clouds caused by rockslides,” Phivolcs said in a statement.

Phivolcs said its monitoring team has not detected any changes in the monitored parameters to indicate volcanic unrest. The agency is monitoring volcanic activity round-the-clock.

The eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 is considered the second largest volcanic eruption in the 20th century that caused massive destruction not only in Pampanga but also in neighboring provinces.

Meanwhile, Phivolcs director Renato Solidum said that the series of earthquakes that struck Luzon and the Visayas in the past few days do not indicate a pattern.

Neither do these lead to the possibility of stronger earthquakes, Solidum stressed.

“Ang mga lindol na naramdaman sa iba’t-ibang dako ng Pilipinas, in particular ‘yung dalawang araw na magkasunod na malakas na paglindol ay walang kaugnayan sa isa’t-isa. Iba-ibang fault ang kumikilos at hindi niyo pwedeng gamitin basehan ng mga malakas pa na lindol,” he said.

(The earthquakes that have struck different parts of the Philippines, particularly those the occurred within 24 hours of each other, are not related. These occurred because of movement in different faults. You cannot use this as basis for saying that a stronger earthquake will occur.)

“Wala namang pattern ito pero dahil nga sa napakaraming aktibong fault at mga trenches sa dagat ay talagang nagkakataon na magkakaroon ng maraming lindol kada araw. Hindi nakakapagtaka na magkakasabay or almost one after the other ang posibleng magkaroon ng malakas na paglindol,” he added.

(There is no pattern to this because there are so many active faults and trenches. It is not surprising that numerous earthquakes occur in a day or that these occur one after the other.)

A magnitude 6.1 earthquake rocked Central Luzon and Metro Manila at 5:11 p.m. Monday, April 22, killing at least 15 and damaging some churches and vital infrastructure facilities.

About 20 hours later, a magnitude 6.5 quake struck near San Julian, Eastern Samar at 1:37 p.m. Tuesday, April 23. It was felt in other Visayas islands, including Cebu.

As of 7 p.m. Tuesday, Eastern Visayas police said 10 people were injured. No fatalities were reported. There was also minor damage to houses and infrastructure facilities.

Solidum said the eastern Samar earthquake was caused by the downward movement of Philippine sea plates along the Philippine Trench, which moved quickly from offshore in Bicol to offshore Davao Oriental.

He said it is normally not expected to cause damage, although it is stronger than the April 22 quake centered near Castillejos, Zambales.

Solidum said the Phivolcs recorded 53 aftershocks of the Samar earthquake. He said intervals between the quakes would be longer.

Phivolcs has recorded about 500 aftershocks to the Zambales quake, with magnitude of up to 3.4. That quake was felt strongly in Metro Manila and caused the 24-hour shutdown of the Clark International Airport and suspension of MRT and LRT operations.

Pampanga, which sustained the heaviest damage, reported at least 15 fatalities after the four-story Chuzon Supermarket collapsed. – With reports from MVI/SunStar Philippines


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