Powerful 6.9 magnitude earthquake rocks eastern Taiwan

UA powerful earthquake of magnitude 6.9 occurred Sunday, September 18 off the southeast coast of Taiwan, according to the American Institute of Geological Studies (USGC) leading Japan to issue a tsunami warning. The epicenter of the earthquake, which occurred shortly after 2:44 p.m. local time (8:44 a.m. in Paris), was located about 50 kilometers north of the city of Taitung, at a depth of 10 kilometers, a clarified the USGC.

The quake’s power had been rated at 7.2 by the USGS, which later downgraded it to 6.9. At least one building has collapsed in the town of Yuli, according to Taiwanese news agency Central News Agency. Video released by the agency shows panicked residents running towards the building, which collapsed in on itself in a thick cloud of dust.

Tremors were also felt in the capital Taipei, noted a journalist from Agence France-Presse. The day before, a 6.6 magnitude earthquake had hit the same area and several tremors followed. That of Sunday is however by far the strongest.

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Intense seismic activity in the region

Japan’s Meteorological Agency has issued a tsunami warning for islands near Taiwan. Waves up to a meter high are expected around 4 p.m. (9 a.m. in Paris), she said. The China Seismic Network Center said tremors were felt in coastal regions, including Fujian, Guangdong, Jiangsu and Shanghai.

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Taiwan and its surroundings are regularly hit by earthquakes due to their location near the junction between two tectonic plates. The island is in a region of intense seismic activity due to its position on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”. The deadliest earthquake ever recorded in Taiwan, with a magnitude of 7.6, occurred in September 1999 and killed more than 2,400 people.

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