The Taiwan Central Weather Bureau reported a Magnitude 6.4 Earthquake at a depth of 10.6 km on the coast of Hualian County in eastern Taiwan at about 11.50 pm local time (about 3.50 pm GMT) on Tuesday 6 February 2017. Four people have now been confirmed dead following this event, with at least 140 more missing and 255 people known to have been injured, many of them critically. The majority of those affected lived in four large apartment blocks in Hualian that have partially collapsed following the event. Several thousand more people have been left without water and electricity following the event, and schools and other public services are expected to remain closed in Hualian County on Wednesday 7 February. People have reported feeling the event across Taiwan and on parts of the Chinese mainland.
Apartment building in Hualian County, Taiwan, which is listing heavily after collapsing on one side following an Earthquake in Taiwan on 6 February 2018. Tian Jun-hsiung/AP.
Taiwan has a complex tectonic setting, lying on the boundary between the Eurasian and Philippine Plates, with the Eurasian Plate being subducted beneath the Philippine Plate in the South and the Philippine Plate being subducted beneath the Eurasian in the East. Subduction is not a smooth process even in simple settings, with plates typically sticking together as pressure from tectonic expansion elsewhere builds up, then suddenly breaking apart and shifting abruptly, causing Earthquakes.
The motion of the tectonic plates beneath Taiwan. The University of Memphis.
Witness accounts of Earthquakes can help geologists to understand these events, and the structures that cause them. The international non-profit organisation Earthquake Report is interested in hearing from people who may have felt this event; if you felt this quake then you can report it to Earthquake Report here.
The approximate location of the 6 February 2018 Hualian Earthquake. USGS.
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