Earthquake overview : an earthquake of magnitude 6.7 occurred in the very highly populated region of Central Visayas in Philippines. The area most damaged is Negros Oriental. Many people have been killed by landslides triggered by the earthquake and the +1,000 aftershocks.
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Tectonic explanation of what happened
The broad-scale tectonics of the Philippine Islands are dominated by the west-northwest convergence of the Philippine Sea plate with respect to the Sunda plate. This motion, about 10 cm/year at the latitude of the earthquake of February 6, 2012, is accommodated by subduction along the east and west sides of the Philippines Archipelago and by motion of microplates and distributed deformation within the Archipelago.
The February 6 earthquake occurred as thrust-faulting within the archipelago. Several earthquakes similar in size to the February 6 earthquake occurred within the archipelago in eastern Negros, Cebu, and Bohol in the twentieth century.
In 1948 a magnitude 8.1 earthquake occurred about 150 km to the west of the February 6 earthquake in a zone of shallow seismicity that is associated with subduction along the Negros Trench on west side of the Philippines Archipelago.