2013 Volume 2013 Issue 39 Pages 29-37
The Philippine fault is a ~1250-km-long, left-lateral strike-slip fault extending NNW parallel to the Philippine archipelago. This fault has been very active in the past 200 years with several destructive earthquakes accompanied by surface rupture. However, there was no large-scale map of the Philippine fault, which is essential for mitigating seismic hazard from future earthquakes. We mapped the surface trace of the Philippine fault on 1:50000-scale topographic maps based mainly on interpretation of ~1:30000-scale aerial photographs. We then compiled these fault trace data on a Geographic Information System to produce the first digital active fault map of the Philippine fault. These 1:50000-scale active fault maps are available from the website of Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS). These maps reveal that there are notable along-strike variations in fault trace geometry and magnitudes of historical seismicity of the Philippine fault. The Philippine fault in central Luzon and Mindanao Islands are well segmented and produced large (M≥7) earthquakes. In contrast, the fault in Masbate and Leyte Islands are more continuous and produced only moderate earthquakes in the past 400 years. There are geomorphic and geodetic evidence of aseismic creeping on the Philippine fault in northern and central Leyte. These observations suggest that the Philippine fault may be comparable to the San Andreas fault in that both of the faults are composed of locked, transition and creeping segments as previously suggested.