Strong earthquake hits northeast Taiwan, felt in Taipei

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A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.4 has struck just off the coast of northeast Taiwan, with shaking felt as far away as the capital Taipei, seismologists and residents say. No tsunami warnings have been issued.

The earthquake, which struck at 11:50 p.m. local time on Tuesday, was centered in the water about 18 kilometers (11 miles) northeast of Hualian, or 98 kilometers (61 miles) east of Taichung City. It struck at a depth of 9 kilometers (5 miles), making it a very shallow earthquake.

Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau put the preliminary magnitude of Tuesday’s earthquake at 6.0, while the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) put the magnitude at 6.4. The European-Mediterranean Seismological Center (EMSC) put the preliminary magnitude at 6.1.

No tsunami warnings have been issued and there was no immediate word on damage or casualties.

Computer models from the USGS estimated that as many as 85.2 million people may have felt the earthquake, including 227,000 people who could have experienced “strong” to “very strong” shaking. It said there was a low likelihood of major damage and casualties.

Tuesday’s earthquake came just over two days after a strong 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck the same area, causing damage but no casualties. Several residents in the region said Tuesday’s tremor felt stronger when compared to the one on Sunday.

Located along the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, Taiwan is at times rattled by moderate to strong earthquakes. A powerful 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck central Taiwan in September 1999, killing at least 2,297 people and injuring nearly 9,000 others.

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