All of Taiwan Feels Magnitude 6.6 Earthquake 1:41花蓮近海6.6強震 最大震度台東6弱

A magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck off the east coast of Taiwan on March 23 around 1 am. It was the fourth strongest since the 921 earthquake and luckily no major casaulties have been reported.

Many people were jostled awake when an earthquake struck at 1:41 a.m. on March 23. Others were woken up by earthquake alerts sounding on their phones. All of Taiwan felt this magnitude 6.6 earthquake, which was the biggest one so far this year. The epicenter was located off the coast of Hualien at a depth of 30.6 kilometers. The highest intensity of 6- was recorded in Taitung. This was the first quake with a magnitude of over 6 in the region in 49 years.

Chen Kuo-chang, Director, Seismological Center, CWB: “The rigidity of the terrain is comparatively higher, and it can endure a higher degree of deformation. When it reaches a certain point, as it did at 1:41 a.m., it begins to fracture. After it fractures, there is a continuous release of energy.”

Taiwan began experiencing a higher frequency of earthquakes starting in the second half of 2020. In 2021, there were five quakes with a magnitude of over 6, which was double the long-time average of 2.5 a year. The Central Weather Bureau's Seismological Center speculates that a seismologically active period may have arrived, but geologists had a different opinion.

Chen Wen-shan, Professor, Department of Geosciences, NTU: “Taiwan has so many active faults, around 30 to 40, so the earthquake frequency is high. They may appear to be concentrated in a certain period of time. My personal opinion is that we haven't yet arrived at a seismologically active period, because we need to understand the time of each and every fault.”

This earthquake was the fourth strongest since the 921 earthquake. There have already been over 100 aftershocks, including small ones that weren't recorded. The CWB says there may be magnitude 5 to 6 aftershocks over the next three days.