Monday 17 February 2020

Magnitude 5.5 Earthquake in Hualien County, Taiwan.

The Taiwan Central Weather Bureau reported a Magnitude 5.5 Earthquake at a depth of 10.5 km roughly 19.2 km to the southwest of the city of Hualien in northeastern Taiwan at about 7.00 pm local time (about 11.00 am GMT) on Saturday 15 February 2020. There are no reports of any damage or casualties associated with this event, but it was felt across most of northern Taiwan.

The approximate location of the 15 February 2020 Hualien 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.

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