Taiwan has been hit by 10 earthquakes measuring 5.0 or more on the Richter scale so far this year, compared with an annual average of 22, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said Wednesday, after a magnitude 5.6 temblor shook southern Taiwan earlier in the day.
However, while the number is significantly higher than for the same period in other years, the CWB said it is within a reasonable range and does not necessarily indicate a higher frequency of quakes this year.
On average, Taiwan has 2-3 earthquakes with a 6.0-7.0 magnitude and 22 with a 5.0-6.0 magnitude each year, according to Wu Chien-fu deputy head of the bureau's Seismology Center.
Some 70 percent of the earthquakes are centered in northeastern Taiwan, he pointed out.
The location of Wednesday's earthquake, however, was relatively uncommon, Wu noted, as the epicenter was in a mountainous area with a geological formation of hard rock, where accumulation of energy is difficult.
"That region has recorded only 26 earthquakes measuring magnitude 5.0 or higher since the bureau began to keep records in 1973," Wu said.
While there were no casualties as a result of Wednesday's temblor, 3,726 passengers on 12 Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) trains were impacted, because trains are required to slow down after an earthquake with a 4.0 magnitude or higher, according to the TRA.
Wu said it is likely that there will be aftershocks of a similar level over the next two weeks.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel