While Taiwan is prone to frequent earthquakes, the relatively geologically stable Hsinchu County has experienced 10 small earthquakes today, the strongest with a magnitude of 3.7.
All of the quakes occurred within a small radius around Emei Township.
According to Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau an earthquake of magnitude 3.3 occurred in Emei Township at 10:44 am. The earthquake’s intensity was felt as a level 3 in Guanxi, and 2 in Hsinchu City, Zhunan, and parts Miaoli County.
Another quake followed at 11:01 am with a magnitude of 2.8. At 2:50 pm a magnitude 3.7 struck, followed by a magnitude 2.4 at 3:00 pm. At 3:06 pm the fifth earthquake occurred with a magnitude of 3.7, and at 3:28 pm two consecutive earthquakes struck less than one minute apart with magnitudes of 3.1 and 3.3 respectively.
At 3:42 pm an eighth earthquake occurred, with a magnitude 3.4, prompting the Central Weather Bureau Director-General Cheng Ming-dean (鄭明典) to take to Facebook and post information about the unusual phenomena. Cheng posted a map diagram showing the location of the earthquake cluster and said that the quakes were related to fault activity.
At 4:55 pm a ninth earthquake shook Emei Township with a magnitude of 3, and another occurred at 7.22 pm at magnitude 2.8.
The Central Weather Bureau’s Earthquake Prediction Center said that there have only been 62 earthquakes within a 15 kilometer radius of today’s earthquakes in the last 30 years – an average of around two per year. The largest was only a level 4 on the CWB’s 7-level scale. The frequency and number of earthquakes occurring in the area today means that they cannot rule out the possibility of a larger earthquake occurring, and the CWB will continue to observe and monitor the situation.
Emei Township was the epicenter of a 6.1 earthquake that was an aftershock of a 7.1 magnitude earthquake centered in Miaoli on April 21, 1935. The earthquake took more than 3,000 lives and injured more than 12,000, making it the most destructive earthquake in Taiwan’s history up to that time.
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