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.

A view of Taipei, Taiwan, in the midst of an earthquake
A video still of Taipei, Taiwan, in the midst of an earthquake on April 3.Reuters

Japan’s Meteorological Agency issued tsunami warnings for Okinawa Islands, Miyakojima and the Yaemama area, with heights as much as 3 meters, or just short of 10 feet, possible. 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.

Officials in Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture told people in coastal areas to go to higher ground as soon as possible, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported, and said an 11-inch tsunami was observed at Yonaguni Island.

The Philippines were also expected to see 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 for 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 struck Wednesday, according to the USGS. Those had magnitudes of 6.5, 5.7 and 5.5.

The USGS said that 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 of Taipei.

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

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