This morning, another significant earthquake has rocked the ground; this time the quake was in Taiwan. The quake is another in a series of strong earthquakes that has happened this year. According to Major earthquake hits off Taiwan coast, “the 6.5-magnitude quake hit at 10:59 a.m.” So, far, there have been no reported deaths due to the tremor. Fortunately, there was little damage too. Also, there is not any trepidation about tsunamis. With such a big earthquake, why is there little to write about. The main reason is that the earthquake struck “195 miles (off the southern Taiwan city of Taitung.” Thus, since the epicenter was so far from land, it caused modest damage. In fact, people were more concerned about several people supposedly trapped from a landslide from Sunday than the recent earthquake. Yet, how does this earthquake compare with others?
Other Earthquakes in Taiwan
This is not the first time a strong quake has hit the region of Taiwan. In fact, earthquakes frequent the area. Over 10 years ago, in 1999, a 7.6 earthquake struck central Taiwan. This time over 2,400 people were killed. According to wikipedia.com, the toll of this quake was “2,416 deaths (including missing people) and 11,443 severely wounded. The quake also caused a lot of structural harm “with 44,338 houses completely destroyed, 41,336 houses severely damaged, and a total of NT$300 billion (US$9.2 billion) worth of damage.” Days later, an aftershock measuring “6.8 on the Richter scale,” shook Taiwan again, killing three more people and ruining more structures.
By comparing quakes, we can see the relationship between location and casualties. As we have seen this year, earthquakes in more populous areas often have more deaths and inflict more destruction. In addition, earthquakes in less developed regions with low-socioeconomic status often have more damage due to poorly built structures.
The depth in which an earthquake strikes is also fundamental to destruction. According to Why Haiti’s quake was so devastating, in the Haiti quake, “the hypocentre, or focal point, was close to the Earth’s surface.” In fact, it was only about “10 kilometers below ground.” The further down earthquakes occur, the less energy they have when they reach the surface. For instance, the Seattle quake of 2001 occurred about 40 miles under the surface. It had a 6.8 magnitude but had much less damage then say the 1994 Northridge quake.
What is the most destructive type of earthquake?
According to Seismologist Roger Musson: Haiti Quake Was the ‘Big One, “a thrust earthquake, in which one side of the fault goes up” is the kind of quake that leads to catastrophic tremors like “the Sumatra earthquake of 2004.” However, “strike-slip faults” often extend through densely inhabited areas, and cause the most harm to humans. Haiti’s earthquake is said to be a result of a strike slip fault.
This is said to be the “big one” for Haiti. As for Taiwan, I hope the aftermath of the earthquake continues to find them without a lot of damage and deaths. As for me, I am still awaiting the “big one” to hit Southern California. Earthquake preparedness, here I come.
Major earthquake hits off Taiwan coast, Associated Press
Why Haiti’s quake was so devastating CBC News
Eben Harrell, Seismologist Roger Musson: Haiti Quake Was the ‘Big One, Time.com
1999 Taiwan Earthquake wikipedia.com