Strong earthquake hits off the Philippines, felt in Manila

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A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.3 has struck off Luzon island in the Philippines, with shaking felt in Metro Manila and other cities, seismologists and residents say. No tsunami warnings have been issued.

The earthquake, which struck at 1:28 p.m. local time on Friday, was centered near the Lubang Islands, about 119 kilometers (74 miles) west of Batangas, 138 kilometers (85 miles) southwest of Calamba, and 150 kilometers (93 miles) southwest of Manila and Quezon City.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) put the preliminary magnitude of Friday’s earthquake at 6.3, while the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) put the magnitude at 6.2. The quake struck about 160 kilometers (99 miles) below the surface, making it a relatively deep earthquake.

Shaking was felt across the region, including Metro Manila, where numerous buildings were evacuated. Malacañang Palace, the official residence of the president, was evacuated, as well as the Foreign Affairs Department, the Supreme Court, the Philippine Red Cross, and the University of Batangas.

There were no immediate reports of serious damage or injuries and no tsunami warnings were issued. Aftershocks are expected.

The Philippines is on the so-called ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’, an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Basin which is prone to frequent and large earthquakes. Volcanic eruptions also occur frequently in the region.

A powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck the province of Bohol in October 2013, killing at least 222 people and injuring nearly 1,000 others. A year earlier, a 6.7-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Negros Oriental, killing at least 51 people.

Other earthquakes in recent history in the Philippines include a powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake which struck the densely populated island of Luzon in July 1990, killing at least 2,412 people and injuring thousands more. It was one of the most deadly earthquakes in the Philippines in recent history.

The deadliest earthquake in the country’s history was in August 1976, when an 8.1-magnitude earthquake struck the Moro Gulf, generating a tsunami which caused devastation along the coast on Mindanao island and the nearby Sulu Islands, killing up to 8,000 people and injuring many more.

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