Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2013-10-31 08:23 PM
There were no immediate reports of major damage or injuries, reports said.
The tremor struck at a depth of 19.5 kilometer, causing the quake to be felt clearly in large parts of the country, and lasted more than a minute. The epicenter was located inland, about 52.9 km southwest from the Hualien County Government, according to the Central Weather Bureau.
The tremor reached an intensity of six in the Hualien County village of Hungyeh, five in the Hualien and Yilan area, and three in Taipei City. Because the capital lies in a basin, quakes are felt much more easily, the bureau said.
The quake was the fourth of a magnitude of 6 or higher during the year and the second biggest. On June 2, a magnitude 6.5 quake hit Nantou County.
Japan rated Thursday’s tremor as a 6.5, the United States as a 6.6, reports said. The quake was felt as far away as Southern Japan’s Ryukyu archipelago.
Train services in the area were reportedly immediately suspended for checks, while trains on the Taipei Mass Rapid Transit system stopped or slowed down for 15 minutes before resuming normal service. There were also reports about interruptions in telephone service around the capital.
The high-speed rail trains traveling along the west coast stopped first and then kept to a reduced speed of 150 km per hour as a safety precaution. Two trains in the Taipei area arrived 10 minutes late because the power supply was interrupted, the rail company said.
Power fell out, causing people to become trapped in elevators in Taipei City, New Taipei City’s Hsichih District, and Shoufeng, Hualien County, reports said.
Supermarkets in Hualien reported collapsed shelves, while tourists from China ran out of their hotels into the streets. A 79-year-old woman was taken to a local hospital after she fell during the quake, but she did not sustain serious injuries, reports said.
Ceiling panels fell down at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport but nobody was injured and the damage was repaired an hour later, cable station TVBS reported. A similar situation occurred at a dinner attended by Premier Jiang Yi-huah and several lawmakers. Vice Premier Mao Chi-kuo told reporters that the premier immediately returned to his Executive Yuan office to monitor developments.
The Ministry of National Defense said it was ready to send out rescue teams if necessary.
The Hsinchu Science Park, which counts hundreds of Taiwan’s top electronic firms, reported no damage from the quake.
The biggest earthquake in recent history was a magnitude 7.3 tremor which struck central Taiwan on September 21, 1999, killing more than 2,300 people.