TAIPEI, Taiwan: A strong 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck Taiwan’s east coast Thursday afternoon, according to the island’s Central Weather Bureau. TV footage showed at least one landslide but there were no immediate reports of major damage or injuries.
The bureau said the quake happened at 1:01 p.m. (0501 GMT), with its epicenter just over 10 kilometers northwest of the eastern coastal city of Hualien. The depth was 10 kilometers, according to the United States Geological Survey, while Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau put the depth at almost 19 kilometers, a distance that would lessen the likelihood of damage.
The quake shook buildings in the capital, Taipei, which is about 115 kilometers away, with one multi-story building reported to be leaning against its neighbor. The city’s subway system suspended service, while schools along the east coast were evacuated, with students holding their backpacks over their heads for protection.
People in Chinese cities close to the Taiwan Strait dividing the island from mainland China reported on social media that they felt the quake.
Footage run by Taiwanese television stations showed overturned furniture in homes and offices and at least one landslide along the mountainous and lightly populated east coast.
Taiwan is on the string of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean known as the “Rim of Fire” and is frequently rocked by tremors, including a 1999 quake that killed more than 2,300 people.
An earthquake in February 2018 in Hualien killed 17 people when four buildings partially collapsed. That quake hit two years to the day after an apartment building in the southwestern city of Tainan collapsed in an earthquake, killing 115 people.