6.8-magnitude quake strikes the Philippines

MANILA (AFP) -  A 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck off the Philippines early Saturday (April 29), triggering a tsunami warning that was later lifted, Philippine and US authorities said.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage from the quake, which shook the southern region of Mindanao just before dawn, Philippine officials said.

It struck at a depth of 41km in Mindanao, more than 700km south-east of the capital Manila, at 4.23am local time, the US Geological Service said.

“We do not expect major damage after this event,” Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology chief Renato Solidum said on ABS-CBN television in Manila.

The state-run institute gave a higher magnitude reading of 7.2. The epicentre was about 53km off Mindanao’s south coast, it added.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre initially advised that hazardous tsunami waves were possible off the coasts of the Philippines and Indonesia.

Less than two hours later the US and Philippine authorities lifted the tsunami alert, saying the danger had passed.

“There is no longer a tsunami threat from this earthquake,” the US agency said.

However Philippine authorities said they were checking potential local damage.

The Philippines lies on the so-called Ring of Fire, a vast Pacific Ocean region where many of Earth’s earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.