Friday 9 August 2019

Magnitude 6.0 Earthquake beneath Yilan County, northeast Taiwan.

The Taiwan Central Weather Bureau reported a Magnitude 6.0 Earthquake at a depth of 22.5 km roughly 36.5 km to the southeast of the city of Yilan in northeastern Taiwan slightly before 6.30 am local time on Friday 8 August 2019 (slightly before 9.30 pm on Thursday 7 August GMT). The event is reported to have resulted in the death of a 65-year-old woman in New Taipei City, who was killed by a falling cabinet, as well as several small landslides, minor damage to some buildings, and disruption to gas and electricity supplies, which in turn caused train cancellations, blackouts, and several people being trapped in lifts. The quake was felt as far away as the coast of mainland China.

Debris from a small landslide triggered by the 8 August 2019 Yilan County Earthquake. Yilan County Police Bureau.

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.
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