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Strong quake strikes off Taiwan’s east coast



Earthquake. File copy

A strong earthquake struck off the east coast of Taiwan on Saturday, the US Geological Survey said, but there were no initial reports of casualties or damage.

The 6.5-magnitude quake hit just after 9:30 pm (1330 GMT) about 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of the coastal city of Taitung at 10 kilometres deep, the USGS said.

Local media initially reported no injuries or damage from the quake.

Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau put the magnitude slightly lower at 6.4 but said it was shallower at 7.3 kilometres.

The USGS earlier put the strength at 6.6 but later revised down its estimate.

Taiwan is regularly hit by earthquakes as the island lies near the junction of two tectonic plates.

The island does not issue tsunami warnings unless a quake is more powerful than magnitude 7.0.

Some earthquakes of 6.0 or more can prove deadly, although much depends on where the quake strikes and at what depth.

But the USGS estimated there was a low likelihood of casualties on Saturday, though said some localised damage was possible.

Several smaller tremors of lower intensity were reported by the agency after the initial quake.

Taiwan lies on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where tectonic plates collide, and experiences frequent seismic activity.

AFP

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