10/15/13 Philippines Quake

Updated 10/16/13

A 7.2M quake hit the Philippines on Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 8:10 AM local time. The epicenter was near the city of Tagbilaran on the island of Bohol in the central Philippines. The worst damage as on the islands of Bohol and Cebu. There were panicked crowds trying to get out of buildings during the quake. One stampede on Cebu injured 19 people and killed a 4 year old girl. There was extensive damage, with many building damaged or destroyed. Among the damaged buildings were several historic churches, at least one of which, the Church of San Pedro in Loboc dating from 1602, had its roof collapse.   144 people have been confirmed dead and 291 injured. Cracks appeared in roads and power was out in the most affected area.  Authorities warned residents not to enter damaged buildings for fear that aftershocks could cause more damage.  Port facilities, and airport control tower were also damaged and closed while safety inspections were conducted.

The Philippines is a very active area seismically. Several tectonic plates jostle each other in this area, including the Philippines Plate, Sunda Plate, Pacific Plate and Eurasian Plate. A 6.8M quake hit the nearby island of Negros on 2/6/2012.  7.2M is a strong quake but by no means the strongest possible in this area. In 1948 an 8.1M quake hit not far away. See thePlate Tectonics Page for more on the processes involved.  The US Geological Survey (USGS) is an invaluable resource in understanding and tracking earthquakes. See the USGS report on this quake.

See these news stories about this quake:

9/24/2013 Pakistan Quake

On Tuesday September 24, 2013 at 16:29 UTC (9:29 PM local time) Southwestern Pakistan was hit by a 7.7M quake. The epicenter was 39 miles from the city Awaran in Bolochistan. This quake was followed two days later with a 6.8M quake in the same area. The quake was felt at far away as Delhi and Karachi.

366 people were killed in the first quake with another 7 dead from the second. Over 700 were injured. An estimated 21,000 buildings were destroyed. Relief efforts were hindered by the remoteness of the area with poor communications. There is also a separatist movement that hinders government access. There was a report that a government helicopter assessing damage was fired upon by separatists. Off the coast, a new rocky island was formed as the quake lifted the seafloor.

Survivors were afraid to stay inside hospital or other buildings, after the second quake in temperatures as high as 100ºF with little food, water or shelter.

These quakes occurred near the intersection of three tectonic plates, the Indian Plate to the east, the Arabian Plate to the west and the Eurasian plate to the north. Both the Indian and Arabian plates are moving northwards relative to the Eurasian plate at different rates. Although these complex plate movements lead to frequent small quakes, there has not been one this big in over 40 years. (See the Plate Tectonics page for more information on these processes.) The US Geological Survey (USGS) is an invaluable resource in understanding and tracking earthquakes. See the USGS summary of this quake 

News Reports:

New earthquake strikes hard-hit Pakistan (CNN 9/28/13)

Quake kills 45 in Pakistan creates new island in sea (Reuters 9/24/13)