5.5-magnitude quake hits off Hualien

by Matthew Strong

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – An earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter Scale hit the Hualien region Wednesday evening, rocking buildings in the capital Taipei.

The epicenter was located 42.6 kilometers northeast of the Hualien County Government, a relatively limited 17.8 km under the ground off the coast, according to the Central Weather Bureau.

The tremor followed a 5.6-magnitude quake near Hualien at 3:37 Wednesday morning which was also felt islandwide. The quake was followed by numerous aftershocks all through the day, though most of those were not noticed outside the region.

The shocks occurred in an area offshore near the border between the counties of Yilan and Hualien, with the Yilan County town of Nan’ao and the Hualien County town of Heping suffering the biggest shocks, with an intensity level reaching five.

No reports of damage came in immediately after the Wednesday evening quake.

Taiwan is hit by an average of about three earthquakes of magnitude 6 and above per year, the weather bureau said.

The biggest quake in recent history occurred in on September 21, 1999, when more than 2,300 people died after a 7.3-magnitude tremor hit the central region of Nantou.

Photo credit: CNA
Photo credit: CNA
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