FALSE: Phivolcs 'warning' about a looming magnitude 7.1 earthquake
Claim: A Facebook post claimed that a supposed magnitude 7.1 earthquake is about to hit several areas in Metro Manila along a "100-kilometer fault line."
“Warning ng Philvocs sa atin sa lindol na mararanasan sa Metro Manila. May 100 kilometrong fault line na sa kasalukuyan ay nasa Bulacan, Quezon City, Marikina, Pasig, Makati, Taguig, Muntinlupa, Rizal, Cavite at Laguna na kung saan ay maaring maranasan ang intensity 7.1 na lindol,” the first paragraph of the post reads.
(Philvocs warns us of the earthquake that will be felt in Metro Manila. There is a 100-kilometer fault line currently located in Bulacan, Quezon City, Marikina, Pasig, Makati, Taguig, Muntinlupa, Rizal, Cavite and Laguna where the intensity 7.1 earthquake will be experienced.)
It further claimed that government agencies studying earthquakes estimated that about 30,000 might die and 100,000 might be hurt or wounded from this supposed earthquake.
Facebook users have been sharing the post, following the magnitude 6.1 earthquake in Luzon and magnitude 6.5 earthquake in the Visayas on April 22 and 23, respectively.
A reader e-mailed Rappler a shared post on Facebook by a certain Liza Argomido, asking for verification. Argomido's post has so far garnered 37 reactions, 6 comments, and 41 shares as of this writing.
The facts: The supposed warning is a false claim originally circulated in 2018. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) had denied way back issuing a warning about a magnitude 7.1 earthquake.
“Nais naming ipabatid sa publiko na hindi nanggaling sa DOST-PHIVOLCS ang mensahe na ito at walang sapat na basehan para maglabas ng warning ang aming tanggapan tungkol sa isang nalalapit na malakas na lindol," Phivolcs clarified in its January 2018 statement.
(We would like to inform the public that this message did not come from DOST-PHIVOLCS and there is not enough basis for our office to issue a warning about a looming powerful earthquake.)
Phivolcs' Facebook page, along with that of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), reshared the statement on April 23.
There are indeed studies suggesting that Metro Manila and its surrounding provinces may be due for a big earthquake "within our lifetime." This is based on observations by scientists indicating that the West Valley Fault, a 100-kilometer fault that traverses various parts of Metro Manila and surrounding provinces, moves roughly every 400 years.
The last major earthquake generated by this fault was in 1658, or 357 years ago. (READ: What dangers await when the West Valley Fault moves?)
Phivolcs maintained, however, that there is no technology available yet that can predict when a powerful earthquake may happen.
The agency urges the public receiving such messages to stop spreading the false information via SMS and the internet. – Addie Pobre/Rappler.com
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