The Philippine land mass is moving towards mainland Asia at approximately seven centimeter per year, latest geophysics researches conducted reveal.
This development was disclosed publicly for the first time by Department of Science and Technology Undersecretary Graciano P. Yumul Jr. during the 2009 Earth Sciences International Conference at the Heritage Hotel August 27.
But the calculated convergence of the archipelago to continental Asia won’t happen soon. “In 50 million years, the Philippines will be reconnected to mainland Asia because of the tectonic movements,” explains Usec Yumul, a leading Filipino authority in geology.
Although it’s been scientifically verified Yumul emphasized that the observed land mass change is scarcely felt, if at all.
“You know, in geophysics movements are being measured in millimeters. But when this happens, we’ll no longer need a visa going to China,” Yumul said.
Manifestations of such tectonic movements include an old railroad that’s found submerged in the sea off Cavite province south of Metro Manila, while a very old artesian well in Mindoro island was also discovered buried into the sea. These indicate the Philippine archipelago’s slow shift westward.
“These scenarios,” Yumul points out, “corroborate our researches on tectonic movement since nobody would put neither a railroad nor a well into the sea.”
The Philippines was once part of the super continent Rodinia about 1.1 billion to 750 million years ago. The break up is attributed to a phenomenon called Super Continent Cycle where the Earth's continents alternately merge into a single supercontinent, the splits into numerous continents, then merge again. The cycle is estimated to span 300 - 500 million years.
The 2009 ESIC brought together scientists, researchers, students and other professionals from the ASEAN who presented and discussed results of joint researches in the past two years under the ASEAN University Network-Southeast Asia Engineering Education Development Network (AUN/SEED-Net).
Research presentations covered those on tectonics, crustal deformation, geohazards, marine geology, and climate change. Data from such scientific findings are expected to be help to ASEAN governments in developing strategies to adapt to environment challenges and disaster risk management.
AUN/SEED-Net is composed of 30 universities including 19 leading universities from the ASEAN, and 11 Japanese supporting universities.
Usec. Yumul is the current chairman of the ASEAN Committee on S&T.