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More aftershocks expected in east Taiwan: weather bureau

2012/06/15 19:10:44

Taipei, June 15 (CNA) More moderate to strong aftershocks can be expected in eastern Taiwan over the next two weeks in the wake of a magnitude 5.4 earthquake in that area early Friday, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) warned.

As of 11 a.m. Friday, a total of 58 aftershocks had been recorded in Hualien County after the main earthquake that occurred at 0:15 a.m., the bureau said.

The quake's epicenter was located at sea 31.5 kilometers south of Hualien County Hall at a depth of 10 km, the bureau said. The tremor was felt at an intensity of 6 in the county's coastal area of Jichi, it said.

Since the earthquake was strong and at a shallow depth, it is likely that aftershocks of between magnitude 4 and 5 would continue in the next two weeks, said Kuo Kai-wen, director of the bureau's seismology center.

However, Kuo urged the public not to panic over the frequent aftershocks, saying they are just a normal release of energy.

"The number of aftershocks remains in a reasonable range," Kuo said. "There is no need to worry."

Eastern Taiwan's location between two tectonic plates --the Philippine Sea Plate and the Pacific Plate -- makes it especiallyprone to earthquakes, he said.

When the magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck central Taiwan on Sept. 21, 1999, about 1,000 aftershocks occurred the same day, he said.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)