Tonight about 2 hours ago, we experienced our first earthquake tremors since we have been in our new home which is an apartment on the 9th floor. While sitting at the dining room table, the table and the chandelier above it began to sway in sync with my building. It lasted about 8-10 seconds. Nothing major and it’s not my first since we have been in Taiwan. But it was enough to notice that your world is moving under your feet. After it occurred I usually go to earquakereport.com for Taiwan to confirm it occurred and where. This one was 5.3 on the Richter scale and it occurred in Hualien County which is located 200 miles due west from Taichung City where we live. What was interesting was not only did I confirm the earthquake online, but apparently it was not the first one that occurred today, but the 4th one across the island country and overall, the 45th year to date!
There are many active fault lines in Taiwan that run through it and off the coasts. The two major active zones Taiwan is included in is the Pacific Ring of Fire and the Philippine Sea Plate. These earthquakes that effect Taiwan are frequent, but they vary across the Richter scale. Some you feel, some you don’t. Previously, we have felt only 2 earthquakes that occurred during my Mandarin Chinese school terms last Winter and Spring. One occurred in the morning during class. At first I thought my classmate behind me was moving my chair, and the 2nd earthquake that I felt occurred in the evening while I was in the IKEA Store Dining room studying. It was during dinner time and the IKEA dining room was busy and full of people when the building started to sway back and forth for again, like 8-10 seconds. I immediately observed the nonchalance reactions from the people around me that indicated to me of the frequency these earthquakes happen and how the Taiwanese people are used to it. Some you feel, and some you don’t, some just shrug it off..
The last major earthquake in Taiwan that caused heavy damage and loss of life occurred in 1999. It registered 7.6 on the Richter scale and the epicenter was centered along the west coast near Nantou and Taichung.