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5.9 Magnitude Earthquake Rattles Taiwan

A shallow 5.9-magnitude earthquake sent people fleeing onto the streets in Taiwan’s second-largest city of Kaohsiung and led to temporary halting of rail services. No casualties were reported yesterday.

The quake struck 57 kilometers east of the southern city at 10.34am at a depth of just four kilometers, the US Geological Survey said. The Hong Kong Observatory measured the quake at a magnitude of six, while Taiwan’s Seismology Centre put it at 6.1. The National Fire Agency said there were no casualties or major material damage.

“A few Kaohsiung residents sought safety in the streets for a short while, but it wasn’t many,” a police officer said.

A spokesman for the center said it is relatively rare for a quake of such magnitude to hit the Kaohsiung area. “While the quake was strong, it didn’t last long,” Chen Jung-yu said.

“Even in some towns near the epicenter, buildings swayed for no more than seven seconds. That explained why it did not inflict damages.”

A high-speed railway linking Kaohsiung with Taipei in the north resumed about 90 minutes after the quake prompted services to be suspended. The greater metropolitan area of Kaohsiung has a population of nearly three million.

Taiwan is regularly hit by quakes as it lies near the junction of two tectonic plates.

In September 1999, a 7.6-magnitude tremor killed 2,400 people in the deadliest natural disaster in the island’s recent history.

…(The Standard)

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February 27, 2012 Posted by | Seismic | , , , , , | Leave a comment