A 5.8 magnitude earthquake was followed three minutes later by one of magnitude 6.2, both centered in Hualien County on Taiwan’s east coast, late Sunday evening, April 18.
The first quake struck at 10:11 pm with an epicenter 19.2 kilometers southwest of Hualien County Hall at a focal depth of 15 kilometers, according to the Central Weather Bureau (CWB).
At 10:14 pm a magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck with an epicenter at almost the same location, 20.2 kilometers southwest of Hualien City Hall, at a focal depth of 13.9 kilometers.
Both epicenter locations were in Shoufeng Township.
The highest intensity was felt at a magnitude of 5 in Shoufeng township, while a magnitude of 4 was felt in most of Hualien County, and parts of Yilan County, Nantou County, Taichung City, Changhua County, Yunlin County, and Miaoli County.
The quakes triggered the CWB SMS early warning system with alerts that read “Beware of probable shaking.”
Rail Services Affected
Trains on Taipei Metro lines stopped during the quake, then resumed at slow speeds. Normal operations resumed at 10:36 pm on most Taipei Metro lines, and the Airport MRT line resumed normal operations at 11:16 pm.
Taichung MRT, which is currently still under trial operations before its official opening later this month saw 10 trains stop, then resume at a reduced speed of 40 kilometers per hour while safety inspections were carried out.
Taiwan Rail Administration (TRA) said that train delays on both the Eastern Trunk Line and Western Trunk Lines will continue until around 2:00 am Monday, as trains are operating at slow speeds until safety inspections are completed.
Rockfalls Reported on Cross-Island Highway
Rocks were reported to have fallen onto the road on the Central Cross-Island Highway between Taroko Archway and Tianxiang from the 167-110 kilometer marks. Highway administration has dispatched personnel to inspect road conditions and has urged drivers to avoid entering mountain roads unless necessary, and to be cautious in landslide and rockfall-prone areas.
The CWB Earthquake Observation and Reporting Center said that the earthquakes occurred at the junction of the Eurasian continental plate and the Philippine Sea plate, and aftershocks of magnitude four, and possibly five could be expected in the next week.
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