5.9 quake rocks Ilocos provinces; causes brief blackouts
by Cristina Arzadon
Laoag City (23 March) -- A magnitude 5.9 earthquake rocked Ilocos provinces early Tuesday causing brief power outages in some towns including this city.
A reading from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology in Pasuquin town said the tremor occurred at 3:58 a.m. with the epicenter estimated at 27 kilometers northeast of Laoag.
Ernesto Agnir, Philvocs science specialist, said intensity 5 was felt in the cities of Laoag and Batac and Pasuquin, Burgos and Sarrat towns in Ilocos Norte; Intensity 4 in Sinait, Ilocos Sur, and Buguey, Cagayan; Intensity 3 in Peņablanca town and Tuguegarao City in Cagayan; and Intensity 2 in Santa town and Vigan City in Ilocos Sur, and Baguio City.
A magnitude 3.2 aftershock was recorded at 7:01 a.m. northeast of Laoag. It was felt at Intensity 2 in Pasuquin town.
A magnitude 5.9 quake can cause major damage to poorly constructed buildings over small regions and at most, slight damage to well-designed buildings, according to the Richter scale.
Authorities said there were no immediate reports of damage in the areas where the tremor was felt.
Officials of the Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative said, however, that their substation in Currimao town suffered minor damage, causing brief blackouts in nearby towns.
But power supply was restored after about 15 minutes.
Some residents were roused from sleep by the ground movement and the sound of broken bottles, dishes and ceiling lamps that fell off.
The tremor also set off car alarms. (PIA) [top]