Earthquakes are one-way mother nature tells us to stop what we’re doing and focus on improving nature. Just like any other country, the Philippines have fault lines that are extremely prone to earthquakes. In this article, we’ll be discussing the active Philippine fault lines.
Not just that, we’ll also be teaching you how you can be aware of your area is near a fault line. This way, you’ll be sure and you’ll feel safe about certain occurrences such as earthquakes.
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What is a fault?
A fault line or a fault is a fracture in the crust which had the crust moved. The relationship between a fault and an earthquake was first introduced to us by century geologists in the nineteenth century after the massive 1855 earthquake that took place in Wellington, New Zealand.
As per the explanations of seismologists, the deepest earthquakes happen on fault lines. When two (2) sides of the fault slip past each other, seismic waves generate and thus, creating the earthquake.
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Are there active Philippine fault lines?
Unfortunately, there are more than we know. In fact, here in the Philippines, there’s a total of five (5) active fault lines that we need to monitor every now and then.
Here are the five (5) active Philippine fault lines:
- Marikina Valley Fault
- Western Philippine Fault
- Eastern Philippine Fault
- Southern of Mindanao Fault
- Central Philippine Fault
Marikina Valley Fault
The Marikina Valley Fault is the fault that is considered to be the most dangerous fault in the country. Why? Because it cuts through almost all the progressive and crowded portions of Manila.
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Here are the locations that the Marikina Valley Fault runs through:
- San Mateo
- San Pedro
- Santa Rosa
- Oriental Mindoro
Western Philippine Fault
If you haven’t known, faults can also be found in the water level. In fact, the Western Philippine fault line does not run through land, but in the waters of the Western part of the Philippines.
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Here are the places that the Western Philippine fault line passes through:
- Mindoro Strait
- Luzon Sea
- Sulu Sea
- Panay Gulf
Eastern Philippine Fault
Similar to the Western Philippine Fault, the Eastern Philippine Fault is also a fault found to be beneath the ground.
The Philippine Sea is the location where the Eastern Philippine Fault can be found.
Southern Mindanao Fault
This Mindanao fault runs through the Celebes Sea as well as the Moro Gulf. Luckily enough, if you’re from the city, the Southern Mindanao Fault wouldn’t be anywhere touching you with its dangers.
However, the whole Southern Mindanao is at risk when the fault line moves. Even the provinces and cities located adjacent to it is at risk, so, everyone better be prepared.
Central Philippine Fault
Last but most definitely not the least would be the Central Philippine Fault. Similar to the Marikina Valley Fault line, this fault runs through several provinces in cities from the northern part of the archipelago, down to to the northern part of Davao.
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The places where the Central Philippine Fault runs through would be:
- The entire Ilocos Norte
- Eastern Leyte
- Southern Leyte
- Agusan del Norte
- Agusan del Sur
- Davao del Norte
The Central Philippine Fault is the root of the earthquake which destroyed the Guinsaugon. Furthermore, it’s also the earthquake that destroyed both Baguio and the Central Luzon part back in 1990.
How would you know if your area is near a fault line?
Now that you know the infamous active Philippine fault lines, it’s time for you to know whether or not your location is susceptible to earthquakes. And you can do this by knowing if your area is close to a fault line.
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PHIVOLCS Fault Finder
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) designed a web application that would allow users to see how near they are from a fault line. In fact, this program is designed to help people plan accordingly toward experiencing natural disasters in the future.
This app was developed by Dr. Joel C. Bandibas, a Filipino researcher based in Japan. He was able to come up with the app through continuous cooperation with the DOST-PHIVOLCS and the AIST-GSJ.
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What the app does is that it shows details in the maps and provides the exact distance of a user from the nearest fault line.
How do I use the PHIVOLCS Fault Finder?
Using the Fault Finder is easy. In fact, it’s a self-explanatory program designed to let people know if they’re near a fault line or not. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can use PHIVOLC’s Fault Finder:
- Open the Fault Finder. You can click here to access it.
- Upon opening it, you will be given three (3) options:
- The PHIVOLCS FaultFinder
- Valley Fault System (VFS)
- Other Fault Systems
- Hit on the “Valley Fault Systems” (VFS) click on agree to the prompt that would pop
- From there, you’ll see the West Valley Fault or the Marikina Valley Fault that runs from the north, down to the south.
- Then, you will be asked three (3) options:
- Active Fault Nearest You
- Active Fault Based on Location
- Double Click a Place on the Map
- Hit on the Active Fault Nearest You option. Doing this will require you to select the province, municipality, and the barangay you belong to. Then, it will trace the nearest fault line from your location.
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Any of these three (3) options can be used to determine whether a fault line is near you or not. Here’s an example we took from brgy. Pantok, Binangonan, in the province of Rizal.
As you can see, there’s an unnamed fault mapped back in 2014. It’s 13 kilometers far from the barangay, technically close, but as you can see, it’s an inactive one.
For you to check whether a specific location is near a fault line or not, you can use the PHIVOLC’s Fault Finder.
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Knowing which are the active Philippine fault lines is essential. In fact, in using this knowledge, you can help not just yourself, but also your government agency to be prepared in case a fault line moves.
Nevertheless, the PHIVOLCS Fault Finder can help the public in knowing whether they’re near a fault line or not. Moreover, this can help people in identifying which are the active Philippine fault lines if they are not aware.
Now that you’re equipped in knowing which are the active faults in the country, you can now be prepared. There were many different earthquake instances that have happened in the past year or two; so, with this knowledge and program, you can be safe from any incoming earthquakes that are about to hit the country.