A “Blind” fault line caused the magnitude-6.8 quake that shook Dumaguete and its neighboring regions on the afternoon of February 6, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).
The earthquake was caused by the sudden shifting of two tectonic plates in the Visayas area. The shift was from a “blind fault” some 20kms below the earth between Negros and Cebu.
Dr. Ishmael Narag, chief of Phivolcs’ Seismological Observation and Earthquake Prediction Division, said that the February 6 earthquake was not traced to any known existing faults in the area, suggesting the presence of a previously unmapped fault.
Rescue workers in the Philippines are searching for dozens of people feared killed by a powerful earthquake that triggered landslides and toppled buildings on the heavily populated islands of Negros and Cebu and searching for residents of a mountainside community in Negros Oriental who are feared dead after a landslide triggered by the magnitude 6.8 earthquake engulfed their homes.
Soil and rocks buried homes in a neighborhood in Guihulngan City near the quake’s epicenter, which had also seen heavy rain in the days before the earthquake, disaster officials said.
“It looks like there is no more hope of finding the 29 missing alive,” said Benito Ramos, head of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
Aftershocks have rattled the region, with more than 1,000 of them in the 36 hours after the quake struck, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said. Officials warned residents to have their houses checked if they had been damaged.
Huge cracks have appeared on main roads and concrete structures in Ayungon town adjacent to Tayasan, where mausoleums in cemeteries had also caved in.
Local officials in Guihulngan town said many residents refuse to go home for fear of more aftershocks and a tsunami.
La Libertad has become a ghost town following the earthquake.
The fourth-class town, which is one of the hardest-hit by the Monday’s earthquake, has become isolated after the bridge that connects it to the town of Jimalalud was destroyed.
La Libertad can now only be reached either on foot or on board a motorcycle.
Rescue workers continue to search for survivors.