Strong earthquake hits central Taiwan - 1 death, at least 97 injured + a lot of damage

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A strong earthquake has hit central Taiwan with the possibility of deaths and injuries.

Update 15:06 UTC
Number of injuries rises to 97. At least 174 schools were damaged by the quake, which explains the high percentage of injured pupils and students.

Update March 28th, 09:40 UTC
Chinese medias are currenty reporting a number of 94 injuries caused by the quake in Taiwan.
- 21 injuries and the death from Nandou Country
- 66 injuries from Taichung Country
- 7 injuries from Changhua Country
There are no damage reports from China.

Update 13:09 UTC :
The number of injuries rises again. Now at least 86 people are confirmed injured.
- most of this people have only minor injuries
- at least 37 students were injured by trying to escape a school building during the quake (THIS IS AGAINST EARTHQUAKE PREPAREDNESS GUIDANCES)
- The government of the Chinese province of Fujian (closest to Taiwan), send rescue teams through the villages to check for damage to buildings. The quake prompted the activation of emergency plans in China. So far there are no damage reports from Fujian.

Image courtesy and copyright

Image courtesy and copyright

Update 11:40 UTC :
The number of injured has increased from 19 to 44.
- Schools are closed for the time being
- a lot of damage in buildings and houses (mostly cracks in walls, broken windows, etc)
- some roads have been blocked
The damage has not been calculated yet but will be considerable

Image courtesy and copyright

Image courtesy and copyright

Update 07:52 UTC :
The earthquake caused a lot of perturbation of the railway system as rails had to be inspected. Many trains have been canceled until after the inspection.
Many Chinese mainland cities felt the shaking very well and people ran out of their office buildings.
The picture at right shows a damaged shop where a salesperson was crushed in between the shelves. She was only slightly injured.

People do not seem to learn what to do during an earthquake ! NEVER run out of the building while the shaking is going on, but hide against an inner wall or below a sturdy table or office with your hands on top of your head. Running away is VERY DANGEROUS. Even more, if the shaking gets worse you will not be able to walk normally.

Update 06:42 UTC :
The military have set up an emergency center in Nantou to provide rescue assistance if needed.

Screen Shot 2013-03-27 at 07.30.32Update 06:28 UTC :
Interesting to notify is that people in China may have felt this earthquake stronger than in the capital Taipei. The reason : the propagation of the earthquake waves. The waves have been moving in a North-Westerly direction towards the Chinese mainland.

Update 06:22 UTC :
A 72 year old woman was the deadly victim of this earthquake. She was hit by  collapsing temple wall.

Unfortunately, 1 death has been registered in Nantou County. If the death is deemed to be not secondary (heart attack) then the earthquake will be classified CATDAT Red.

All classes at Taichung university have been suspended for the day.
Apart from that, good news with most of the checks of roads completed without damage.

Coming from Malaysia and not having any earthquake experiences before, this one left a very deep impression. I was in class when the tremors came, and at first I thought the person behind me was shaking my seat, but then the lights started to swing and the room was swaying to the sides. It was so scary that I am still shaking as I’m typing this. All classes were suspended and one building suffered a lot of damage with cracks in the walls for every floor. - Jason, reader.

Image courtesy and copyright

Image courtesy and copyright

Some more information - a fire that was set off from the shaking has been contained. In addition, the previous elevator story was badly translated - in fact there have been 5 separate elevator incidents (2 in Nantou County, 1 in Taichung City and 2 in Changhua County), in which 2 people have been saved. It is unclear whether more people remain trapped.

In addition, a few minor power outages have occurred, and roads are being checked for landslides and additional effects.

19 people have been injured - 4 in Nantou County, 14 in Taichung City and 1 in Changhua County. 
In addition an elevator stopped, trapping 5 people. 2 NASC people  (search and rescue) have been sent to the epicentral region of the earthquake. Broken windows and fallen items in addition to cracking occurred.

A spectacular crack has occurred along the length of a high rise building in Nantou County.

Crack along the length of a building in Nantou County, Taiwan.

Crack along the length of a building in Nantou County, Taiwan.

At least 1 person has been injured by a falling ceiling. An additional 3 people have been injured by a fire that broke out in Nantou County.

The PAGER model / USGS Shakemap has the highest intensity as IV (4)- light shaking. Although we would like to believe this, the shaking has already been felt at VI-VII, somewhere between the Taiwanese solution and the US solution.

The high speed railway is being currently checked for effects.

Renai Township has been pronounced as the epicentral region.

The earthquake hit close to that of the 21st September, 1999 earthquake of Mw7.7 which caused 2444 deaths and over $10 billion USD damage.


CWB, Taiwan read out of the earthquake intensities.
CWB, Taiwan read out of the earthquake intensities.

The following theoretical intensities are expected in the CWB intensity scale - which is equivalent to the Japanese JMA scale:-

Sun Moon Lake, Nantou County 6 (approx VIII-IX)
Yuchi, Nantou County 5 (approx VI-VII)
Nantou City, Nantou County 5 (approx VI-VII)
Wufeng, Taichung City 5 (approx VI-VII)
Mingjian, Nantou County 5 (approx VI-VII)
Dongshi, Taichung City 5
Puli, Nantou County 5
Yuanlin, Changhua County 5

Taiwan-only earthquake list

Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : M6.1 (Local), Mw6.0
Local time at epicenter :  10:03:17,  Wednesday 27th March, 2013.
UTC/GMT Time : 02:03:17, Wednesday 27th March, 2013.
Depth (Hypocenter) : 15.4km
Geo-location(s) : 21km (13mi) SE of Buli, Taiwan
40km (25mi) ENE of Lugu, Taiwan
47km (29mi) ESE of Zhongxing New Village, Taiwan
48km (30mi) E of Nantou, Taiwan

Links to important maps
USGS Did You Feel It Map
Google satellite map showing the epicenter and the surrounding area
Historic earthquakes map
Shaking map
Human impact map
Scientific parameters

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Refresh this list
SRC Location UTC Date/time M D INFO
EMSC Taiwan Mar 27 18:46 3.7 6 MAP I Felt It INFO
EMSC Taiwan Mar 27 03:30 4.3 7 MAP
USGS Taiwan Mar 27 02:03 6.0 20 MAP
EMSC Taiwan Mar 27 02:03 6.0 21 MAP
  • Taichung City - About 30 seconds long with slow but strong lurching roughly E-W.
  • Chungli Taiwan - Very short shaking but I could feel it in the ground floor of my apartment.
  • Taipei - I'm with my wife's family in Taipei and we're on the 11th floor and the building was swaying some, but not enough to make my father-in-law nervous.
  • Miaoli City - Everything in our apartment started shaking lightly. We're on the 3rd floor of a 10 floor apartment building. Consistent shaking for about 10 seconds (?)
  • Taipei - This one swayed me side to side, made me feel a little queasy and uneasy, but NOT cheesy. Feels like I was on a boat at sea. Been a couple of medium sized quakes this month already.
  • Taipei - longer than usual for this type. Must have been strong somewhere.
  • Taipei - Quite a bit of swaying. I was getting a little worried as it's a bit worse than the usual ones we have. The building continued to sway a little while after the main shock.
  • Taichung - In car, stopped in traffic. Car shook and swayed significantly, along with adjacent cars.
  • Fuqing, China - Short tremor, less than 5 secs followed by a smaller one. Probably originating off Taiwan.
  • Taipei - It was more rocking than shaking. Thought I was feeling dizzy until I saw the scissors on the wall rocking gently back and forth.
  • Tainan - In the office, everyone stops and looks at each other. Skype pals start to check with each other and wonder where the epicenter was. Looks like Nantou county, but we don't know how serious it is or isn't there.
  • Kaohsiung - Very long but steady and moderate.
  • Taoyuan - I was on the 8th floor of a hotel near Taoyuan airport and it was definitely swaying quite a bit.
  • Zhushan Town - I was actually in bed. It woke me up. It felt longer than usual, saw from the window, a few neighbors going out worried and a few power cables shaking. In the 3rd floor some stuff fell from my roommate's desk. Also computer screen hanging from the cable.
  • Taichung - At work on the 14th floor, started with a bit of rocking and gradually worked up to shaking and some of our doors swayed shut and things fell on the floor. Lasted for quite a while, rather scary! My co-workers and I went to the nearest pillar column, and looked out the window. There's constructions for a new high-rise condo across the street, it's up to the 12th floor now, hope everyone is alright!
  • Daan - It makes me fell dizzy and nausea, the building where i am it swayed and fells like I'm on the rocking chair. Thank God that we are safe 🙂
  • Taichung - At university, whole school shook, professors and students ran outside and down the stairs.
  • Taichung City - I was om the second floor of a factory, it rocked from side to side by about 1 foot. First earthquake for me. It felt like turbulence. The people with me were wide eyed..haha.
  • Keqiao - Felt light earthquake.
  • Cyonglin, Hsinchu County - Very long, more swaying than shaking, although at one point it got a bit stronger and rattled the dishes piled in the sink. We're on the 1st floor of a 12 floor building.
  • Taichung - Coming from Malaysia and not having any earthquake experiences before, this one left a very deep impression. I was in class when the tremors came, and at first I thought the person behind me was shaking my seat, but then the lights started to swing and the room was swaying to the sides. It was so scary that I am still shaking as I'm typing this. All classes were suspended and one building suffered a lot of damage with cracks in the walls for every floor.
  • Hsinchu, Taiwan - Ground shook in Hsinchu for thirty seconds. Strongest I have ever felt I have lived here for 2 and half years.
  • Taichung - Where in a huge building near taichung Airport and the floor just sept fwd and backwards 3 times. I am from Canada so this was quite scary for me. My wife on the 25th floor downtown saw the chadelier hit the ceiling 3 times and the shaking went a lot longer. Denis. 3/27 2013. 10:03 AM
  • Taichung - Walls are cracked through both sides, broken windows.
  • Taichung City - Strong, slow E-W swaying. Abut 30seconds duration.
  • Xianxi, Changhwa County - Started with a gentle swing and began to intensify. Felt considerable shaking on the ground floor. My wife was on the 19th floor in Tunghai University (Xitun District, Taichung) and felt dizzy with the shaking.
  • Miaoli - I've been in Taiwan for less than 2 months and I've already felt two earthquakes, this one by far the strongest. It was quite scary this time as it was longer and I could see the street lights outside swaying quite a bit. O.o
  • Hsinchu City - The ceiling rocked back and forth (side to side), building swayed and I heard horrible creaking sounds as everything shifted back and forth - and I only live on the 2nd floor!
  • GEOFON Taiwan Mar 27 02:03 5.9 10 MAP

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    I felt the shaking *
    Country where you felt the earthquake *
    City/Village where you felt the earthquake *
    Street or suburb (area) where you felt the earthquake
    Latitude (area) where you felt the earthquake
    Longitude (area) where you felt the earthquake
    Shaking Strength *
    MMI II (Very weak shaking) ?
    People :
    Felt by persons at rest, on upper floors or favorably placed.
    MMI III (Weak shaking) ?
    People :
    Felt indoors; hanging objects may swing, vibration similar to passing of light trucks, duration may be estimated, may not be recognized as an earthquake.
    MMI IV (Light shaking) ?
    People :
    Generally noticed indoors but not outside. Light sleepers may be awakened. Vibration may be likened to the passing of heavy traffic, or to the jolt of a heavy object falling or striking the building.
    Fittings :
    Doors and windows rattle. Glassware and crockery rattle. Liquids in open vessels may be slightly disturbed. Standing motorcars may rock.
    Structures :
    Walls and frames of buildings, and partitions and suspended ceilings in commercial buildings, may be heard to creak.
    MMI V (Moderate shaking) ?
    People :
    Generally felt outside, and by almost everyone indoors. Most sleepers awakened. A few people alarmed.
    Fittings :
    Small unstable objects are displaced or upset. Some glassware and crockery may be broken. Hanging pictures knock against the wall. Open doors may swing. Cupboard doors secured by magnetic catches may open. Pendulum clocks stop, start, or change rate.
    Structures :
    Some large display windows cracked. A few earthenware toilet fixtures cracked.
    MMI VI (Strong shaking) ?
    People Felt by all. People and animals alarmed. Many run outside. Difficulty experienced in walking steadily.
    Fittings :
    Objects fall from shelves. Pictures fall from walls. Some furniture moved on smooth floors, some unsecured free-standing fireplaces moved. Glassware and crockery broken. Very unstable furniture overturned. Small church and school bells ring. Appliances move on bench or table tops. Filing cabinets or "easy glide" drawers may open (or shut).
    Structures :
    Slight damage to buildings with low standard. Some stucco or cement plaster falls. Large display windows broken. Damage to a few weak domestic chimneys, some may fall.
    Environment :
    Trees and bushes shake, or are heard to rustle. Loose material may be dislodged from sloping ground, e.g. existing slides, talus slopes, shingle slides.
    MMI VII (Very strong shaking) ?
    General alarm. Difficulty experienced in standing. Noticed by motorcar drivers who may stop.
    Fittings :
    Large bells ring. Furniture moves on smooth floors, may move on carpeted floors. Substantial damage to fragile contents of buildings.
    Structures :
    Unreinforced stone and brick walls cracked. Low standard buildings cracked with some minor masonry falls. A few instances of damage to buildings of ordinary workmanship. Unbraced parapets, unbraced brick gables, and architectural ornaments fall. Roofing tiles, especially ridge tiles may be dislodged. Many unreinforced domestic chimneys damaged, often falling from roof-line. Water tanks Type I burst. A few instances of damage to brick veneers and plaster or cement-based linings. Unrestrained water cylinders (hot-water cylinders) may move and leak. Some common windows cracked. Suspended ceilings damaged.
    Environment :
    Water made turbid by stirred up mud. Small slides such as falls of sand and gravel banks, and small rock-falls from steep slopes and cuttings. Instances of settlement of unconsolidated or wet, or weak soils. Some fine cracks appear in sloping ground. A few instances of liquefaction (i.e. small water and sand ejections).
    MMI VIII (Severe shaking) ?
    People Alarm may approach panic. Steering of motorcars greatly affected. Structures : Low standard buildings heavily damaged, some collapse. ordinary workmanship buildings damaged, some with partial collapse. Reinforced masonry or concrete buildings damaged in some cases. A few instances of damage to buildings and bridges designed and built to resist earthquakes. Monuments and pre-1976 elevated tanks and factory stacks twisted or brought down. Some pre-1965 infill masonry panels damaged. A few post-1980 brick veneers damaged. Decayed timber piles of houses damaged. Houses not secured to foundations may move. Most unreinforced domestic chimneys damaged, some below roof-line, many brought down. Environment : Cracks appear on steep slopes and in wet ground. Small to moderate slides in roadside cuttings and unsupported excavations. Small water and sand ejections and localized lateral spreading adjacent to streams, canals, lakes, etc.
    MMI IX (Violent shaking) ?
    Structures Many low standard buildings destroyed. Ordinary workmanship buildings heavily damaged, some collapse. Reinforced masonry or concrete buildings damaged, some with partial collapse. Buildings and bridges designed and built to resist earthquakes damaged in some cases, some with flexible frames seriously damaged. Damage or permanent distortion to some buildings and bridges, designed and built to normal use standards. Houses not secured to foundations shifted off. Brick veneers fall and expose frames. Environment : Cracking of ground conspicuous. Landsliding general on steep slopes. Liquefaction effects intensified and more widespread, with large lateral spreading and flow sliding adjacent to streams, canals, lakes, etc.
    Tell us your experience and how many seconds the shaking lasted + let us know if your property has been damaged (even slight damage). (max. 500 characters)
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