A strong earthquake hit eastern Taiwan on Thursday, shaking buildings over a wide area including the capital. There were no immediate reports of serious damage or casualties.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake struck at 7:02 p.m. and measured magnitude 6.3. It was centred in a remote mountainous area 45 kilometres south-southwest of the coastal city of Hualien at a depth of just 12 kilometres, it said.
Buildings swayed for more than 10 seconds and startled residents ducked for cover in Taipei, the capital, which is about 150 kilometres from the epicentre.
Taiwan’s railway administration immediately suspended train service while it checked for any possible damage to tracks.
Local TV channels reported that there appeared to be almost no damage in Hualien. However, it could take some time for the full impact of the quake to be evaluated because of the remoteness of the epicentre.
Earthquakes frequently rattle Taiwan, but most are minor and cause little or no damage.
However, a magnitude-7.6 earthquake in central Taiwan in 1999 killed more than 2,300 people.