A strong earthquake shakes Taiwan, destroying buildings and causing a tsunami – Science News (Trending Perfect)


TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — A powerful earthquake shook the entire island of Taiwan early Wednesday, collapsing buildings in a southern city and triggering a tsunami that washed ashore on Japan's southern islands.

A five-story building in the sparsely populated city of Hualien appeared severely damaged, causing the first floor to collapse and leaving the rest leaning at a 45-degree angle. In the capital, Taipei, tiles fell from older buildings and inside some newer office complexes.

Train service has been suspended throughout the island of 23 million people, as has subway service in Taipei. But things quickly returned to normal in the capital, where children seemed to go to school and the morning commute seemed normal.

The Taiwan Earthquake Monitoring Agency reported that the earthquake's magnitude reached 7.2, while the US Geological Survey estimated its magnitude at 7.4. It struck at 7:58 a.m. about 18 kilometers southwest of Hualien City and was about 35 kilometers (21 miles) deep.

The head of Taiwan's Earthquake Monitoring Bureau, Wu Chien-fu, said traces had been discovered as far away as Kinmen, a Taiwan-controlled island off the coast of China. Residents of Taipei felt several aftershocks in the hour following the initial quake.

The Japanese Meteorological Agency expected a tsunami of up to three meters (9.8 feet) in height in the Okinawa island group in southern Japan. A wave 30 cm (about 1 foot) high was detected on the coast of Yonaguni Island about 15 minutes after the earthquake. Waves are also likely to hit the coasts of Miyako and Yaeyama islands, JAMA said.

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The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no tsunami threat in Hawaii or the US Pacific territory of Guam.

The quake is believed to be the largest in Taiwan since the 1999 earthquake, which caused massive damage. Taiwan lies along the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” the seismic fault line surrounding the Pacific Ocean where most of the world's earthquakes occur.

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