Swarm of 30 earthquakes shakes Taiwan’s east coast this morning

A series of 27 earthquakes with the largest at magnitude 5.2 centered in Hualien County shook Taiwan’s east coast this morning but only minor damage was reported.

Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said that the earthquakes are probably aftershocks from a rare double-main shock event that happened last week.

Tuesday and Wednesday July 7 and 8 saw a series of 15 earthquakes with two shocks over magnitude 5 centered around Shoufong Township.

At 6:52 am this morning, July 14, a 5.2 magnitude quake shook residents awake in and around Hualien City where the tremblor was felt as a magnitude 5.

Residents who thought of going back to sleep suffered a rude series of 17 further aftershocks in the next hour. By noon, 30 tremors had rattled the area.

Three of the quakes registered with a magnitude larger than 5, five were over magnitude 4, and 14 were more than magnitude 3.

The 5.2 magnitude quake was centered 5.1 kilometers southwest of Hualien City at a depth of 5.9 kilometers.

Director of the CWB’s Seismological Center, Chen Guochang said that Taiwan normally experiences 23-25 earthquakes of greater than magnitude 5 on average every year. However, this year there have already been 22 such earthquakes, and more than 80% occurred in the Hualien area.

Although the swarm appears unusual, Chen reassured the public by saying that “it’s a good thing to be able to release energy. It’s not as worrying as you might imagine.”

Minor damage was reported in Hualien City.
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