Manila, Philippines: THE Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Tuesday allayed fears of a possible stronger earthquake following the discovery of sand fissures or splitting in a town in Sarangani province where the November 17 magnitude 6.8 tremor occurred.

“The people especially in the province (Sarangani) must not worry about this sand fissuring because it is a natural occurrence especially in an area where a strong earthquake took place,” Phivolcs director Teresito “Toto” Bacolcol told The Manila Times via Viber.

Bacolcol said that the sand fissures found in Barangay Padidu in the municipality of Glan, also in the same province, were produced by liquefaction.

“Liquefaction usually happens in sandy areas near rivers and coastlines,” he said.

“This happens when during strong ground shaking, sand particles settle down and water goes up,” the Phivolcs chief added

He reiterated that residents in the province and neighboring localities have nothing to worry about and that the sand fissures were signs of a stronger earthquake that might happen anytime.

“Again, this is not a sign that there would be a stronger earthquake in the area,” the top Phivolcs official said.

The sand fissures were only due to the strong ground shaking after an earthquake took place in the area, Bacolcol said.

Phivolcs said the sand fissures in the coastal area in Glan village were measured 30-60 centimeters wide and sand boils with up to a meter in diameter.

At least nine people died from the November 17 quake that shook southern Mindanao, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).