Phivolcs warns of liquefaction on reclaimed lands along Roxas Boulevard

By Sammy F. Martin

MANILA, (PNA) — Director Renato Solidum of Philippine Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Saturday said that thousands of hectares of reclaimed lands along Roxas Boulevard might sink if it is hit by magnitude 7 earthquake.

“Liquefaction is inevitable. If the epicenter happens to emanate from that area or very near the area, expect liquefaction and the whole area can be erased at once,” Solidum told reporters in the weekly Saturday Forum @ Annabel’s in Quezon City.

But he was quick to clarify that he is not an alarmist but only wanted to remind concerned people to do what they have not done before to avoid tragedies.

He said structural engineers should always recommend to the owners of reclaimed lands to build strong retaining walls to avoid erosion of soil that might aggravate the situation.

Solidum said that buildings erected on reclaimed lots should be strong and must faithfully follow what the building code is asking to avoid surprises.

“The liquefaction which is predictable to occur if it is hit by magnitude seven quake will eventually collapse the buildings which are not strong to absorb jolts,” Solidum explained. He advice building owners not to trim or cut expenses when safety is at stake because this investment is worth in the long run. After the building is finish, they should undergo standard test to determine if it can stand strong jolts.

“Making every building strong against earthquakes can save lives and properties,” he pointed out.

To guarantee that every building built is strong against jolts, Solidum suggested to all engineers and architects not to accept jobs that will put lives at risk. To areas declared by Phivolcs as dangerous because of the presence of faults, “all they need to do is to move the building on their right or left five meters away from the area to avoid surprises.”

He explained that what happened to Bohol is different because almost the whole province is lime.

“Sink holes are always possible. Parang may kweba lang sa ilalim ng lupa na sa haba ng panahon ay lumalaki ito dahil sa tubig sa ilalim ng lupa. Now if this happens, yung tubig na tumutunaw sa lime stone na umakyat na sa itaas, dyan na nagkakaroon ng sink hole,” Solidum explained.

However, this could only happened after hundreds or thousands of years as this is not develop in a short span of time. Sink holes developed in Bohol is the result of slow melting of lime stone underneath, he said.