An earthquake struck Nantou County yesterday near the epicenter of the 921 Earthquake and was felt nationwide, with a maximum intensity of 7.0 on the Richter scale in Nantou’s Mingjian Township (名間). The temblor was followed by aftershocks as strong as 5.7.
The Central Weather Bureau Web site said the earthquake struck at 5:32pm and had a 6.0 magnitude but had the strength of a 7.0 in the Mingjian area. Its epicenter was 19.3km deep and 10.3km southeast of Mingjian, close to that of the 921 Earthquake that struck 10 years ago on Sept. 21, 1999.
The bureau recorded the first aftershock six minutes after the quake, with an intensity of 4.7.
A second struck at 5:56pm and measured 3.6. The epicenters of both aftershocks were very close to the location of the original temblor.
A third aftershock measuring 5.7 occurred at 7:34pm with an epicenter 21.9km deep. Two more struck at 7:39pm and 8:04pm with intensities of 3.6 and 3.5 respectively.
The first temblor was strongest in Mingjian. It measured 6.0 in Gukeng Township (古坑), Yunlin County and 5.0 in Nantou City, Yunlin’s Douliu City (斗六), Changhua City and Changhua County’s Yuanlin Township (員林). It measured 2.0 in Taipei.
Kuo Kai-wen (郭鎧紋), director of the bureau’s seismological center, said the earthquake was caused by the release of seismic energy.
The duration of the quake varied from place to place, Kuo said. In Mingjian it lasted only 0.02 seconds.
The Taiwan High Speed Rail briefly suspended operations as a result of the quake.
TV news reported that a high school student in Taichung County suffered a minor head injury when a piece of the ceiling in a classroom collapsed. She was sent home after being treated at a hospital emergency room.
Chunghwa Telecom and other two major telecom carriers said a surge in communication between friends and family after the quake caused a congestion in the network. The slowed communications were not caused by damage to infrastructure.