Powerful Earthquake Hits Taiwan, Partially Collapses Hotel

A powerful earthquake struck Taiwan today, causing damage and a partially collapsed hotel building, sources report.

News sources have shared this image of the hotel (Screenshot/Youtube)

The USGS reports that the magnitude 6.4 quake struck 21km north of the city of Hualien at 2:50AM AEDT, at a shallow 9.5km below the surface. No tsunami warnings have been issued.

The English-language Taiwan News and the BBC report that a number of buildings have collapsed in Hualien City, including a roof of a hotel. There are no reports of injuries yet. Residents as far away as Taipei (around 120km north) could feel tremors.

This is the second powerful earthquake in the area in just a few days. A magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck in nearly the same spot on Monday.

Taiwan's location on the geologically active Pacific Ring of Fire means they're no stranger to tremors. Many of the country's buildings are built to withstand some shaking.

With a quake of this size there's always the potential for aftershocks. "We haven't seen any large enough here to record yet," John Bellini from the USGS told Gizmodo. "But don't have the local instrumentation they would have. I wouldn't be surprised for there to be a number of aftershocks in the next couple of days."

The BBC reports two confirmed dead and at least 100 injuries. Some are still trapped inside of the half-collapsed hotel and are shining the torches on their phones so responders know they're there. Twenty-eight have been rescued from other collapsed buildings. Today's quake occurred on the second anniversary of another that killed 117 two years ago.

[via Taiwan News and USGS]

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