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Nine dead and dozens trapped after Taiwan’s strongest earthquake in 25 years

On Wednesday morning, Taiwan experienced a powerful earthquake that resulted in at least nine deaths and over 900 injuries. The quake, the strongest in 25 years, caused buildings to collapse, power outages, landslides, and triggered tsunami warnings in southern Japan and the Philippines. The magnitude of the earthquake varied between 7.2 as reported by Taiwanese officials and 7.4 recorded by the USGS.

The earthquake struck southwest of Hualien City at 7:58 a.m. local time and was followed by powerful aftershocks that rocked the island. A total of 77 people were left trapped in tunnels and under collapsed buildings due to the quake’s severity. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen confirmed disaster response efforts were underway.

Despite the severity of the earthquake, Taiwan’s buildings are designed to withstand strong tremors, and its population is well-prepared for such disasters. The island’s location along the Pacific Ocean’s “Ring of Fire” makes it prone to frequent earthquakes due to the interaction of various tectonic plates.

The Pacific plate meets with several other plates, including the Eurasian, North American, Cocos, Philippine Sea, and Nazca plates, creating friction that accumulates energy and releases it in the form of earthquakes. In Taiwan, the Philippine Sea plate and the Eurasian plate interact, generating reverse faults that cause one plate to rise above the other.

Since 1980, over 2,000 earthquakes with a magnitude of 4.0 or higher have been recorded on the island

By Samantha Jones

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