Strong Earthquake Shakes Philippines
Map of earthquake location today (Nov. 2, 2012) near the Philippine Islands.
Credit: USGS.

An earthquake of preliminary magnitude 6.4 struck early Saturday in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The temblor's epicenter was 4 miles (6 km) east-southeast of Burgos, in the Surigao del Sur province, and 512 miles (824 km) southeast of the capital Manila. It originated 33 miles (54 km) deep and struck at 2:17 a.m. local time (1817 UTC), the USGS reports.

Earthquakes of this size are considered major and can cause significant damage, but the destruction caused by any single event depends on the quake's depth, proximity to populated areas, building standards in the region, as well as the type of earthquake. The USGS frequently updates the magnitude of an event after more data is analyzed.

An earthquake's magnitude is a measure of the energy released at the source. It is just one predictor of the shaking that may ensue, which is affected by local and regional geology. Scientists know in a general sense what causes Earthquakes but are unable to predict specific quakes.

This article will be updated if significant additional information becomes available. Find more earthquake news here.