Strong quake hits off southern Taiwan, no threat

February 15th, 2011 - 3:11 pm ICT by BNO News  

TAIPEI CITY, TAIWAN (BNO NEWS) — A strong earthquake struck off the coast of southern Taiwan on Tuesday afternoon, seismologists said, but no damage or casualties were reported.

The 5.7-magnitude earthquake at 3.18 p.m. local time (0718 GMT) was centered about 175 kilometers (108 miles) south of Taitung County in southeastern Taiwan. It struck about 35.4 kilometers (21.9 miles) deep, making it a shallow earthquake, according to the Central Weather Bureau of Taiwan.

There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties and the earthquake was not strong enough to generate a tsunami. The United States Geological Survey (USGS), which measured the strength at 5.5 on the Richter scale, estimated that some 51,000 people may have felt light shaking on nearby islands.

Taiwan is frequently rattled by moderate and strong earthquakes. On April 26, 2010, a strong 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck southwestern Taiwan, injuring 96 people and damaging at least 340 buildings throughout the island.

And on September 21, 1999, a powerful 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck central Taiwan, killing at least 2,297 people and injuring nearly 9,000 others. The quake, the second-deadliest earthquake in the island’s history, also left some 600,000 people homeless.

The only earthquake more deadly than the earthquake in 1999 was a powerful earthquake that struck western Taiwan on April 21, 1935. It left at least 3,276 people killed and injured more than 12,000 others. Railways were left destroyed, iron bridges were fractured and tunnels cracked.

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