Thu, Mar 14, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Two magnitude 5 quakes shake nation

ALERT:The CWB expects few aftershocks from the first earthquake because of its depth, but warned that magnitude 4 aftershocks might come from the second one

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The nation was shaken by two earthquakes exceeding magnitude 5 yesterday, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said yesterday.

The first one, a magnitude 5.1 temblor, occurred at 4:19am, at a depth of 132.5km in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮), bureau data showed.

The largest intensity generated by the quake reached level 2, which was recorded in New Taipei City, Toucheng Township (頭城) in Yilan County, Sibao (西寶) in Hualien County and Lishan (梨山) in Taichung.

A level 1 intensity was recorded in Yilan City, Taipei, Hohuanshan in Nantou County and three other localities.

The earthquake also triggered the national public warning system, which issued a presidential alert message and caused the emergency alarms on people’s smartphones to go off.

The second one, a magnitude 5.2 quake, occurred at 12:32pm, with the epicenter 44.1km south of the Hualien County Government building and at a depth of 35.7km, the bureau said.

The largest intensity reached level 4, which was recorded in Jichi (磯崎) in Hualien County.

The two earthquakes were not related, Seismological Center Director Chen Kuo-chang (陳國昌) said.

The epicenter of the quake in Gongliao was on the subduction zone between the Philippine Sea Plate and the Eurasian Plate, and it occurred as a result of the collision and extrusion of the two plates, Chen said, adding that similar quakes had happened in the same region.

Aftershocks after the earthquake are expected to be very few in the next few days, because the epicenter was more than 100km underground, he said.

The earthquake in Hualien also occurred because of the collision between the two main tectonic plates, Chen said, adding that the epicenter was near the coast of Hualien, where earthquakes frequently occur.

Bureau data showed that 32 earthquakes exceeding magnitude 5 have been recorded in the zone since 2000, including a magnitude 5 temblor on Feb. 15, he said.

People in Hualien and Taitung should beware of one to two aftershocks of magnitude 4 or more occurring in the next three days, he said.

The magnitude 5.1 earthquake did not affect the operation of the Lungmen Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao, the Atomic Energy Council said in a statement.

Chen added that the public warning system should not have sent out an alert for the magnitude 5.1 earthquake, as the largest intensity it generated did not reach level 3 to level 4.

The computer appeared to have trouble reading information from an earthquake located at a deep subduction zone, which the bureau would try to address, he said.

The bureau apologized for the inconvenience caused by the confusion, it said.

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