6.4 magnitude earthquake hits Taiwan

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Location of earthquake
Image: USGS.

A powerful 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit southern Taiwan on Thursday. According to USGS the epicenter was 23.1 km (14.4 miles) deep. The quake struck at 8:18 a.m. (0018 UTC) in a mountainous region on the southeast coast and 40 miles east of cities of Tainan and Kaohsiung on the southwest coast. The earthquake was felt in capital Taipei which is 155 miles north of the epicenter.

Several fires were started and Taipei's high-speed railway lines were stopped and are undergoing safety checks. CTI news agency reported one person was injured by falling debris in Kaohsiung, and one woman was hospitalized in the southern city of Chiayi. One person was hurt by a falling tree according to Central News Agency.

A spokesman for Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou assured that the concerned authorities had been instructed to follow the situation closely and take steps so as to alleviate the damage caused and survey the dislocation. The Ministry of Defense has dispatched troops to report on the damage. The Taiwan Ministry of Interior and the National Fire Agency said electricity was cut off near the epicenter but further information was not possible.

The quake was followed by many aftershocks, the largest of 4.8 on the Richter scale. Kuo Kai-wen who is the director of the Central Weather Bureau's Seismology Center denied presence of any geological relations between the Chile earthquake and this earthquake in Taiwan.