The U.S. Geological Survey is reporting a 6.3-magnitude earthquake in Taiwan today (October 31, 2013). The reported magnitude was originally 6.6, but then downgraded. The quake took place in a remote mountainous region. Although buildings shook in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, there were no immediate reports of serious damage or casualties.
The quake was centered 45 kilometers (28 miles) south-southwest of the coastal city of Hualian, a remote mountainous area. The capital of Taiwan, Taipei, was not as affected, although buildings reportedly swayed for some seconds, according to AP.
Details of the quake, from USGS, follow:
2013-10-31 12:02:09 UTC
2013-10-31 20:02:09 UTC+08:00 at epicenter
45km (28mi) SSW of Hualian, Taiwan
63km (39mi) SE of Buli, Taiwan
72km (45mi) ESE of Lugu, Taiwan
87km (54mi) ESE of Nantou, Taiwan
761km (473mi) ENE of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Taiwan is subject to frequent earthquakes because it is located along the Pacific Ring of Fire. Most quakes are minor and cause little damage, in part because new building construction takes the frequent earthquake activity into account.
However, in 1999, a magnitude-7.6 earthquake in central Taiwan killed more than 2,300 people, with 11,305 injured and billions in damages. It was followed by some 9,000 aftershocks! Read more about the September 21, 1999 Taiwan earthquakes here.
Bottom line: The earthquake in Taiwan on October 31, 2013 has been downgraded to 6.3 magnitude, and it occurred in a remote mountainous region. No reports of injuries or damages so far.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.