Dr. Decibel V. Faustino- Eslava shows the sampling and analytical methods as part of the paleomagnetic study in Mindoro.

Dr. Decibel V. Faustino-Eslava, a Regular Member of the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP), revealed that the several younger bodies of rocks on Northern Mindoro originated from the higher latitudes very close to Mainland Asia – most probably just south of Taiwan.

“If we know where certain mantle materials came from, we will be able to better explain why certain mantle materials contain some of a particular mining element, such as chromite and nickel, as compared to others,” Dr. Eslava stated.

She also underscored the implication of this study to biodiversity conservation and management. She said that there are certain rock groups that are more conducive for the growth of certain organisms.

Dr. Eslava called these rock groups as the Amnay Ophiolites because they were collected from Amnay, a place situated in Occidental Mindoro. She explained that these fragments have started to translate southwards when the young South China Sea started to open up to form the West Philippine Sea some 30 million years ago. She also expounded how the age and physical characteristics of this ophiolitic fragments gave rise to the idea that these could be a sliver of the South China Sea crust that was thrust on Mindoro island during some form of collision event.

According to Dr. Eslava, this paleomagnetic studies rely on magnetic information stored in the rocks at the time of their formation. The information provides data on paleo declination, inclination, and intensity. The group of Dr. Eslava was able to obtain a set of latitudes and longitudes that led this reconstruction of knowledge about how the different pieces of crustal blocks were arranged million years ago. The group has also determined the details on how fast those travel histories occurred using the comparison between their past and their present locations.

Dr. Eslava’s team includes the following NRCP Regular Member under the Division of Earth and Space Sciences: Dr. Eslava; Dr. Carla Dimalanta, Professor, National Institute of Geological Sciences, College of Science, University of the Philippines; Dr. Karlo L. Queaño, Professor, Department of Environmental Science, Ateneo de Manila University; Dr. Jenielyn T. Padrones, Professor, Institute of Renewable Natural Resources, University of the Philippines – Los Baños; and, Dr. Graciano P. Yumul, former DOST Secretary.

She presented this study during the third virtual NRCP Regional Basic Research Caravan last November 17, 2020, in collaboration with Department of Science and Technology (DOST) – Region IV-B.

Around 120 (60% female and 40% male) researchers, scientists, students, legislators, and faculty from various universities and government and private agencies in MiMaRoPa and other regions attended the webinar.

This virtual gathering was also in partnership with the following academic institutions: Marinduque State College (MSC), Mindoro State College of Agriculture and Technology (MinSCAT), Occidental Mindoro State College (OMSC), Palawan State University (PSU), Romblon State University (RSU), and Western Philippines University.

Dr. Eslava’s presentation was based from the NRCP-funded project “Paleomagnetism of the Amnay Ophiolite: Constraining the translation history of South China Sea Oceanic Fragments”. This is the very first extensive paleomagnetic study conducted on Mindoro Island.