MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) will install 27 new strong motion censors in provinces around Metro Metro to beef-up its earthquake monitoring, according to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo said Phivolcs is beefing up efforts in mitigating disaster risks especially in areas highly vulnerable to quakes.
"Disaster mitigation is high on the agenda of DOST. We are embarking a program that will ensure safer communities through S&T, and installation of strong motion sensors is just a part of it," Montejo said.
He said the new devices will record high-magnitude earthquakes to provide data for studies on the effects of earth movements on soil quality, especially in the highly urbanized cities of Luzon.
The sensors measure and record large amplitude, high frequency seismic wave activities typical of local earthquakes with magnitude 3 and stronger.
According to DOST-Phivolcs, strong earth movements loosen up soil, exposing affected areas to multiple hazards such as soil liquefaction, landslides, erosion and sinkholes.
Montejo said through the additional sensors, experts at Phivolcs will be able to determine the risks and provide a timely recommendation in upgrading building codes to conform with the soil quality. Phivolcs will also be able to predict the patterns of strong shaking in future large earthquakes.
"Engineers will be guided on the limitations of their structural designs against the soil quality in a particular area. Proper guidance will enable engineers to improve the structural designs of buildings and make these safer and sturdier," Melchor Lasala of Phivolcs' said.
"Our job is to provide vital information to local governments as well as private engineering firms and land developers on the possible hazards that may occur, and hopefully prevent it from happening," Lasala explained.
Although the sensors measure "big event" ground movements, Lasala underlined that these instruments are not early warning systems. "These instruments are used more on recording and measuring the impact and magnitude of the earthquake in an area for further studies," he said.
He also added that Phivolcs will install strong motion sensors in the Visayas and in Davao City.
Just recently, the agency set up a sensor in San Pablo City, a burgeoning city in the southern part of Laguna.