New Phivolcs atlas shows detailed view of quake fault

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(CNN Philippines) — The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said a 7.2-magnitude earthquake produced by the Valley Fault System — which transects cities and provinces from Bulacan to Laguna — could hit Metro Manila at any time.

But a new tool could help local government units and individuals to minimize the impact of this disaster on lives and structures through better mapping.

The new Valley Fault System Atlas, released Monday morning (May 18) by the Phivolcs, is a crucial step towards ensuring that Metro Manila is prepared for the big quake.

The atlas shows a more detailed view of specific streets and villages along and near the fault.

"Previously, the official fault maps of Phivolcs only used a 1 to 10,000 scale and showed municipalities and a few streets. Now, the new atlas has a more detailed scale of 1 to 5,000, which shows actual streets, villages, and even the outline of some structures," Phivolcs director Renato Solidum said.

Solidum added that the new atlas uses the most recent official maps available from the National Mapping Resource Authority (NAMRIA).

With all of these changes, government officials said the tool will strengthen their disaster risk management and policies on land use, engineering, and issuance of building permits.

"The atlas is very relevant for land use planning as we are helping LGUs review and update their Comprehensive Land Use Plan or CLUPs," Atty. Emerson Carlos, assistant general manager for operations of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, said.

Engr. Robert Moreno, technical evaluator of the Marikina City Engineering Office, added that the atlas could expedite the city’s evaluation process on which areas are hazardous.

"Once the documents to secure a building permit is submitted to us and we suspect that it’s near the fault line, based on Phivolcs data, we will endorse it to Phivolcs for a hazard assessment report," Moreno said in Filipino.

Solidum said the atlas was written in a user-friendly way so that even laymen can check their proximity to the fault and coordinate with their local governments on disaster preparedness measures.

The atlas will be available for download on the Phivolcs website starting Monday.

United Nations Development Programme’s country director Titon Mitra said that informed policies are key to ensuring that the devastating earthquakes in Nepal last April and May — and in Haiti in 2010 — won’t claim as many lives in the Philippines.

"Earthquakes themselves do not kill people. What does kill people is poor planning, inadequate preparedness, and the lack of application of appropriate building standards," Mitra said.

This version of the Valley Fault System Atlas has been optimized for online viewing. Click here to download the original, full-sized document.

Related: Bracing for the big one: Is Metro Manila quake-ready?

Related: Preparing for an earthquake in Metro Manila

[Editor's note: CNN Philippines will have a special coverage of the Metro Manila shake drill on July 30, 2015 starting at 10:30 a.m. CNN Philippines is available on free tv: Manila RPN – TV 9; Destiny Ch.14; Cablelink Ch.14; Cignal Ch.10; Sky Cable (Manila) Ch.14; and via livestream on]