The Taiwan Central Weather Bureau reported a Magnitude 5.6 Earthquake at a depth of 30.3 km roughly 54 kn off the coast of Hualian County in eastern Taiwan slightly after 5.20 am local time on Sunday 16 December 2018 (slightly after 9.20 pm GMT on Saturday 15 December). There are no reports of any damage or casualties associated with this event, but it was felt across much of northern Taiwan.
The approximate location of the 16 December 2018 Hualian Earthquake. USGS.
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.
Follow Sciency Thoughts on Facebook.