Wed, Feb 02, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Quakes shake northern Taiwan

COLD WARNING Weather bureau officials said the quakes caused no damage, because both lasted less than one second. They also warned that temperatures will drop today

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Ilan was yesterday shaken by two earthquakes measuring 5.2 and 5.3 on the Richter scale. Officials of the Central Weather Bureau said there was no direct association between the two quakes.

The first quake, measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale, hit at 9:59am, with an epicenter 15.5km underground along the border between Ilan and Hualien counties.

Residents in northern, northeastern and eastern parts of the country felt the tremor.

No damage or casualties were reported.

According to Kuo Kai-wen (郭鎧紋), director of the bureau's seismology center, the earthquake caused no damage because it lasted only 0.7 seconds in Nanao, Ilan County, and 0.56 seconds in Hoping, Hualien County.

"Like most of the quakes we've experienced, the earthquake was caused by a collision between the Philippine and Eurasian tectonic plates," Kuo said.

The second quake, measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale, occurred at 12:56pm. The epicenter, 74.9km beneath the surface of the earth, was located 10.6km north of Nanao, more than 20km from the first quake's epicenter.

Meanwhile, the weather bureau yesterday stressed the importance of staying warm, especially with the mercury expected to plummet in the next few days.

Yesterday morning, the temperature dropped to 9.2OC in Tamsui, Taipei County, and to -5.8OC on Yushan, Taiwan's highest mountain.

Forecasters said the average temperature today might be 1OC lower than yesterday.

In coastal areas in the north of the country, temperatures might drop below 8OC today. Temperatures of about 10OC are predicted for central areas.

The bureau urged fish farmers in the south to take steps to keep their fish warm.

Temperatures on Kinmen and Matsu could drop to 6OC today.

Forecasters said that residents in the north can expect a damp, cold day, because the possibility of rain might increase this afternoon.

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