7.4-magnitude earthquake strikes on coast of Taiwan

A 7.4-magnitude earthquake struck Wednesday morning on the east coast of Taiwan, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The quake happened around 8 a.m. local time and had a depth of about 21 miles, according to the USGS. It was about 11 miles south-southwest of Hualien City.

Taiwan television stations showed footage of some collapsed buildings in the eastern county of Hualien, near the quake’s epicenter, and media reported some people were trapped, the Reuters news agency reported.

A damaged building in Hualien City, Taiwan, after an earthquake
A damaged building in Hualien City, Taiwan, after a 7.4-magnitude earthquake struck on Wednesday morning.TVBS via AP

Japan’s Meteorological Agency had issued tsunami warnings for Okinawa, but later downgraded them to an advisory.

The Tsunami Warning Center in the U.S. said there was a tsunami threat of up to 1 meter for Japan and 1 to 3 meters for Taiwan.

The Philippines were also expected to get tsunami waves, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said, warning the waves could last hours.

There was no tsunami threat in New Zealand or the U.S. Pacific coast, officials said.

Taiwan’s meteorological agency listed the magnitude of the earthquake at 7.2.

There have been less powerful earthquakes in the area following the larger one that struck Wednesday, according to the USGS. Those were magnitude 6.5, 5.7 and 5.5.

The USGS said the shaking from the initial quake would have been “very strong” in the Hualien area, as well as in Puli, and strongly felt elsewhere.

A witness told Reuters the temblor was felt in Shanghai, and Chinese state media said it was felt in Fujian province, the news agency reported.

A live camera on YouTube at Liyu Lake near Hualien that had been showing a peaceful, sunny scene began to violently shake at 7:58 a.m. local time.

Hualien City has a population of around 106,000 and is on the eastern coast of the island, around 70 miles southeast of the capital, Taipei.

Taiwan is on the so-called Ring of Fire that circles the Pacific Basin and is known for earthquakes.

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