Seven schools were damaged by a magnitude 6.3 earthquake that struck the country on Thursday night, according to initial assessments.
Three of the damaged schools are in Hualien County, with one each in the neighboring counties of Taitung, Nantou and Yilan, as well as Taipei City, the Ministry of Education said yesterday.
Most of the damage involved falling tiles, cracks in the walls and the collapse of steel beams, according to the ministry.
A student in New Taipei City (新北市) was injured when he fell off a ladder while he was checking for damage to his home after the earthquake, the ministry added, saying the student has been hospitalized for treatment and observation.
Meanwhile, the Hualien County Government’s fire department said a 79-year-old woman was hospitalized for bone fractures after she fell during the quake.
The Industrial Development Bureau said that none of its 62 industrial parks had reported any damage caused by the quake. Hsinchu Science Park, home to many of Taiwan’s top high-tech firms, said the same.
The earthquake, which hit at 8:02pm on Thursday, was centered in Ruisui Township (瑞穗), Hualien County, at a depth of 19.5km. It was the second-most powerful quake to rock Taiwan so far this year.
According to the Central Weather Bureau’s Seismology Center, a total of 60 aftershocks were recorded between Thursday night and early yesterday, but only 23 of them were felt.
The strongest aftershock struck at 11:47pm on Thursday, measuring 4.8 on the Ritcher scale with the epicenter in Hualien’s Fongbin Township (豐濱), the center said, adding that aftershocks of magnitude 5 or greater are expected to hit Taiwan in the next two weeks.
Thursday’s earthquake was caused by pressure being released due to tectonic movements of the Philippine Sea plate and the Eurasian plate, the bureau’s Earthquake Forecast Center head Hsiao Wen-chi (蕭文啟) said.