Why Taiwan is earthquake-prone, and the way the island handles them so properly

Why Taiwan is earthquake-prone, and the way the island handles them so properly

Taiwan was struck Wednesday by its strongest earthquake in 1 / 4 of a century. At the very least 9 folks had been killed and a whole lot injured, buildings and highways broken and practice service interrupted.

Taiwan is not any stranger to highly effective earthquakes, but their toll on the high-tech island’s 23 million residents has been comparatively contained due to its glorious earthquake preparedness, consultants say.

Here’s a nearer have a look at Taiwan’s historical past of earthquakes:


Why so many temblors?

Taiwan lies alongside the Pacific “Ring of Fireplace,” the road of seismic faults encircling the Pacific Ocean the place a lot of the world’s earthquakes happen.

The world is especially weak to temblors as a result of pressure amassed from the interactions of two tectonic plates, the Philippine Sea Plate and the Eurasian Plate, which can result in sudden releases within the type of earthquakes.

The area’s mountainous panorama can enlarge the bottom shaking, resulting in landslides. A number of such landslides occurred on Taiwan’s jap coast close to the epicenter of Wednesday’s quake close to jap Hualien County, when falling particles hit tunnels and highways, crushing autos and inflicting a number of deaths.

{A partially} collapsed constructing is seen in Hualien, Taiwan, on April 3, 2024. A robust earthquake rocked the complete island, collapsing buildings in a southern metropolis and making a tsunami that hit southern Japanese islands. (TVBS through AP)

How well-equipped is Taiwan to deal with quakes?

Wednesday’s earthquake measured 7.2, in line with Taiwan’s earthquake monitoring company, whereas he U.S. Geological Survey put it at 7.4. It broken a number of buildings in Hualien however precipitated solely minor losses within the capital Taipei regardless of being strongly felt there.

The earthquake hit in the midst of the morning rush hour but solely barely derailed the common commute. Simply minutes later, mother and father had been once more strolling their youngsters to highschool and staff driving to workplaces.

“Taiwan’s earthquake preparedness is among the many most superior on the planet,” mentioned Stephen Gao, a seismologist and professor at Missouri College of Science and Know-how. “The island has carried out strict constructing codes, a world-class seismological community, and widespread public schooling campaigns on earthquake security.”

The federal government regularly revises the extent of quake resistance required of latest and present buildings — which can enhance development prices — and gives subsidies to residents prepared to verify their buildings’ quake resistance.

Following a 2016 quake in Tainan, on the island’s southwestern coast, 5 folks concerned within the development of a 17-story high-rise condominium constructing that was the one main construction to have collapsed, killing dozens, had been discovered responsible of negligence and given jail sentences.

Taiwan is also pushing quake drills at colleges and workplaces whereas public media and cellphones recurrently carry notices about earthquakes and security.

“These measures have considerably enhanced Taiwan’s resilience to earthquakes, serving to to mitigate the potential for catastrophic injury and lack of life,” Gao mentioned.

Dwelling with earthquakes

Taiwan and its surrounding waters have registered about 2,000 earthquakes with a magnitude of 4.0 or higher since 1980, and greater than 100 earthquakes with a magnitude above 5.5, in line with the USGS.


The island’s worst quake in recent times struck on Sept. 21, 1999, with a magnitude of seven.7. It precipitated 2,400 deaths, injured round 100,000 and destroyed hundreds of buildings.

The final lethal quake to strike Hualien County occurred in 2018, collapsing a historic lodge and different buildings.

“This excessive degree of seismic exercise will sadly proceed for hundreds of thousands of years to return,” mentioned Gao. “This underscores the significance of preparedness and resilience within the face of ongoing seismic dangers.”

#Taiwan #earthquakeprone #island #handles

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Written by bourbiza mohamed

Bourbiza Mohamed is a freelance journalist and political science analyst holding a Master's degree in Political Science. Armed with a sharp pen and a discerning eye, Bourbiza Mohamed contributes to various renowned sites, delivering incisive insights on current political and social issues. His experience translates into thought-provoking articles that spur dialogue and reflection.

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