Earthquakes in the Philippines
Earthquake map of the Philippines, 1862-1909.jpg
A 1910 earthquake map of the Philippines
LargestMw8.3 1918 Celebes Sea earthquake
DeadliestMw 8.0 1976 Moro Gulf earthquake 5,000–8,000 killed

The Philippines lies along the Pacific Ring of Fire, which causes the country to have frequent seismic and volcanic activity. Many earthquakes of smaller magnitude occur very regularly due to the meeting of major tectonic plates in the region. The largest was the 1918 Celebes Sea earthquake with Mw8.3.

Spanish period

16th century

17th century

18th century

19th century

The belfry of Manila Cathedral after the series of destructive earthquakes of July 1880.
The belfry of Manila Cathedral after the series of destructive earthquakes of July 1880.

American period and Post-World War II

Early 20th century

Large earthquakes near the Manila Trench
1972
1972
1956
1956
1934
1934
1924
1924
1972
1972
1942
1942
Large earthquakes ≥ 6.4 Mw near the Manila Trench. In 1924,[5] 1934,[6] 1956,[7] 1972,[8] 1999.[9] And the part near Mindoro in 1942[10] and 1972,[11] both of which were ≥ 7.4.
Earthquakes in Mindanao
1913
1913
1924
1924
1943
1943
1972
1972
Six of the seven largest Philippine earthquakes since 1901 with magnitude almost 8.0 Mw or higher were in Mindanao:

1913,[12] 1918,[13] 1924,[14] 1943,[15] 1972,[16] and 1976.[17]

These areas are near the Cotabato Trench and the southern portion of the Philippine Trench.

Mid to late 20th century

The damage caused by a tsunami at Barangay Tibpuan, Lebak, Mindanao after the 7.9 Moro Gulf Earthquake on August 16, 1976.
The damage caused by a tsunami at Barangay Tibpuan, Lebak, Mindanao after the 7.9 Moro Gulf Earthquake on August 16, 1976.

21st century

Largest earthquakes by year

Earthquakes in Southern Mindanao
2001
2001
2005
2005
2007
2007
2009
2009
2014
2014
2015
2015
2016
2016
2017
2017
2018
2018
2019
2019
From the table, some of the largest (per year) of Philippine earthquakes since 2001. Note the western cluster near the Cotabato Trench under the Moro Gulf/Celebes Sea, and the eastern cluster near the southern portion of the Philippine Trench.
The Cotabato Trench in southern Mindanao, the Philippine Trench, and the Philippine Mobile Belt.
The Cotabato Trench in southern Mindanao, the Philippine Trench, and the Philippine Mobile Belt.

The largest or most notable Philippine earthquakes per year since 2001. As for the repeated entries, Moro Gulf near the Cotabato Trench is a seismically active area (the location of the devastating 1918 Celebes Sea earthquake and 1976 Moro Gulf earthquake). Meanwhile, Samar and Davao Region are near the northern and southern portions of the Philippine Trench, respectively.

Year Magnitude Location / Name Date
2001 7.5 Philippine Sea near Tarragona, Davao Oriental[36] January 1
2002 7.5 Moro Gulf March 5
2003 6.5 Philippine Sea near Borongan City, Eastern Samar November 18
2004 6.5 Batangas Bay near Mabini, Batangas October 8
2005 6.4 Moro Gulf, Mindanao[37] November 30
2006 6.3 Luzon Strait near Babuyan Island October 9
2007 6.4 Davao Gulf near Governor Generoso, Davao Oriental[38] August 20
2008 6.9 Philippine Sea near Cabodiongan, Eastern Samar March 3
2009 6.6 Moro Gulf, Mindanao October 4
2010 7.6 Moro Gulf, Mindanao July 23
2011 6.4 Luzon Straight near Fuga Island, Cagayan March 20
2012 7.6 Philippine Sea near Guiuan, Eastern Samar August 31
2013 7.2 Sagbayan, Bohol October 15
2014 6.6 Moro Gulf, Mindanao[39] December 2
2015 6.1 Philippine Sea near Burgos, Surigao del Norte[40] July 3
2016 6.3 Philippine Sea near Mati City, Davao Oriental[41] September 24
2017 7.2 Sarangani Bay near Sarangani, Davao Oriental[42] April 29
2018 7.2 Davao Gulf near Governor Generoso, Davao Oriental December 29
2019 6.9 Matanao, Davao del Sur December 15
2020 6.6 Masbate Pass near Cataingan, Masbate August 18
2021 7.1 Governor Generoso, Davao Oriental August 11
2022 6.4 Lubang, Occidental Mindoro[43] March 14

All large known earthquakes

As the Philippines is subject to most seismic activity, to keep this list manageable, only strong earthquakes after 2001 are prioritized (those with M < 6 are discouraged), unless the event has other noteworthy qualities such as causing fatalities, significant damage, or other notable consequences.

Damaged Itbayat Church after the 2019 Batanes earthquake
Damaged Itbayat Church after the 2019 Batanes earthquake
Cracks on the pier of Cataingan Port after the 2020 Masbate earthquake
Cracks on the pier of Cataingan Port after the 2020 Masbate earthquake

Deadliest earthquakes

The table below is a tally of the ten deadliest recorded earthquakes in the Philippines since the 1600s:

Ten deadliest recorded earthquakes in the Philippines since the 1600s
Mag. Origin Location Date Deaths Missing Injured Damage Source
1 8.0 Tectonic Moro Gulf August 16, 1976 4,791 2,288 9,928
2 7.8 Tectonic Luzon Island July 16, 1990 1,621 1,000 >3,000 10 billion
3 Luzon Island June 3, 1863 1,000
4 7.5 Tectonic Luzon Island November 30, 1645 >600 >3,000 Unknown
5 7.6 Tectonic Mindanao March 31, 1955 >400 Unknown US$5 million [126]
6 7.6 Tectonic Casiguran, Aurora August 2, 1968 271 261
7 7.2 Tectonic Bohol and Cebu October 15, 2013 222 8 796 4 billion (est.) [127]
8 7.1 Tectonic Mindoro November 15, 1994 78 430 5.15 million [31]
9 6.7 Tectonic Negros Oriental February 6, 2012 51 62 112 383 million
10 7.8 Tectonic Panay (Lady Caycay) January 25, 1948 50 (est.) 7 million

See also

References

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