Hong Kong's observatory received over ten reports of locals feeling tremors for over 10 seconds on Sunday afternoon, as a strong earthquake struck Yilan county in Taiwan.
The earthquake of magnitude 6.3 struck northeastern Taiwan at 1.11pm on Sunday at a depth of 67 kilometers, with the epicenter at about 60km south-southeast of Taipei. It was about 820km east-northeast of Hong Kong.
The observatory gave a local intensity of three on the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale, meaning that the vibration felt indoors is similar to that of a light truck passing.
Taiwan is regularly hit by earthquakes as the island lies near the junction of two tectonic plates. Earthquakes at this magnitude can prove deadly, depending on where it strikes and at what depth.
The main quake was followed by a 5.4-magnitude aftershock, and Taipei’s MRT metro system was shut down as a precaution for a little under an hour before service resumed.
A reporter who lives in Yilan said the shaking seemed to last for some 30 seconds.
“The walls of the house were shaking, both sideways and up and down, it felt quite strong,” the reporter said.
Tom Parker, a British illustrator who lives in Taipei, said he was riding the subway when the quake hit.
“First time I’ve felt a quake on the MRT. Like a tame roller-coaster,” he tweeted, adding he and other commuters were told to shelter in the station.
Many others reported the tremor on social media.
“I was scared to death, I screamed in my room,” netizen Yu Ting wrote on Facebook
. “This earthquake is really big, glass has shattered in my living room.”
Some grocery stores reported that food and other goods were thrown from their shelves by the shaking.
A 6.2 earthquake struck in December last year in Yilan with no major damage or injuries reported.
But back in 2018, 17 people were killed and nearly 300 were injured when Hualien, a scenic tourist hot spot, was struck by a 6.4-magnitude earthquake.
In September 1999, a 7.6-magnitude quake killed around 2,400 people in the island's deadliest natural disaster.