Manila: A powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the Philippines island of Mindanao on Saturday that prompted authorities to issue a tsunami warning that was lifted later. No damage or casualties were reported. The Philippines Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) initially said that the quake, which occurred off the island of Mindanao, was 7.1 magnitude. Later, in a revised bulletin, it said the 7.2-magnitude tremor struck at 11.39 a.m. at a depth of 54 km, 170 km southeast of Governor Generoso, a town in Davao Oriental province.
In a statement, the Phivolcs said that effects due to minor sea level disturbances had largely passed and therefore the agency was cancelling the tsunami advisory issued after the quake. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre also cancelled its alert and said minor sea level fluctuations could occur in coastal areas near the quake in the coming hours. The tremor, which was of tectonic in origin, was also felt in many parts of Mindanao including Sarangani, Koronadal City, General Santos City, Davao City and Zamboanga City.
According to the Phivolcs, nearly 10 aftershocks occurred with the highest magnitude of 3.9. Davao city resident Frinston Lim told Xinhua news agency that people in the largest city in Mindanao felt the major tremor strongly. “Workers rushed out of their offices and car horns sounded off as the ground began shaking, lasting about 15 seconds,” he said.
Though the Phivolcs lifted the tsunami warning, it still advised the residents in the southern Philippines to stay away from the coastal area. “We ask everyone to be alert and cooperate as we pray for the safety of all,” said Philippine Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo. Moderate to large quakes are not rare in the Philippines, an archipelago that sits on the so-called “Pacific Ring of Fire,” a seismically active region due to colliding continental plates.