Taiwan Struck by Major Earthquake: Nine Dead, Over 1,000 Injured

Taiwan Struck by Major Earthquake: Nine Dead, Over 1,000 Injured

Nine fatalities and over 1,000 injuries occurred in Taiwan due to its largest earthquake in 25 years. Taiwan’s earthquake agency reported a magnitude of 7.2, while the US Geological Survey (USGS) recorded it at 7.4.

Epicenter and Aftershocks

  • The quake’s epicenter was 18 kilometers south-southwest of Hualien County in eastern Taiwan.
  • Multiple aftershocks followed, one of which registered at 6.5 magnitude according to USGS.

Taiwan’s Vulnerability

  • Taiwan is situated along the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” where 90% of global earthquakes occur.
  • Since 1980, Taiwan has experienced about 2,000 earthquakes with a magnitude of 4.0 or higher and over 100 with a magnitude exceeding 5.5, according to USGS.

Description and Extent

  • The Ring of Fire is a horseshoe-shaped zone spanning approximately 40,250 kilometers, comprising hundreds of volcanoes and earthquake-prone areas along the Pacific Ocean.
  • It delineates the convergence of various tectonic plates, including the Eurasian, North American, Juan de Fuca, Cocos, Caribbean, Nazca, Antarctic, Indian, Australian, Philippine, and smaller plates, surrounding the large Pacific Plate.

Geographical Coverage

  • The Ring of Fire traverses 15 countries, including the USA, Indonesia, Mexico, Japan, Canada, Guatemala, Russia, Chile, Peru, and the Philippines.

Cause of High Seismic Activity

  • Seismic activity in the Ring of Fire results from the constant interaction, sliding past, colliding, or movement above or below of tectonic plates.
  • Rough edges of the plates cause them to become stuck, leading to earthquakes when the pressure is released.

Tectonic Plate Interaction

  • Taiwan’s seismic activity stems from the interactions between the Philippine Sea Plate and the Eurasian Plate.

Formation Mechanism

  • Many volcanoes in the Ring of Fire form through subduction, where one tectonic plate is pushed beneath another, creating deep trenches.
  • The subduction process leads to the formation of magma, which rises to the surface, resulting in volcanic eruptions.

Distribution and Cause

  • The majority of the world’s subduction zones, responsible for volcanic activity, are situated in the Ring of Fire due to tectonic plate movements.

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs):

  1. What was the reported magnitude of the earthquake in Taiwan by the US Geological Survey (USGS)? a) 7.2
    b) 7.4
    c) 6.5
    d) 8.0
    Answer: b) 7.4
  2. What geological phenomenon primarily contributes to seismic activity in the Pacific “Ring of Fire”?
    a) Tornadoes
    b) Hurricanes
    c) Tectonic plate movements
    d) Solar flares
    Answer: c) Tectonic plate movements
  3. Which tectonic plates are involved in causing earthquakes in Taiwan?
    a) Eurasian Plate and North American Plate
    b) South American Plate and African Plate
    c) Philippine Sea Plate and Eurasian Plate
    d) Indian Plate and Australian Plate
    Answer: c) Philippine Sea Plate and Eurasian Plate
  4. What geological process is responsible for the formation of many volcanoes in the Ring of Fire?
    a) Erosion
    b) Subduction
    c) Sedimentation
    d) Deposition
    Answer: b) Subduction
  5. How many countries does the Pacific “Ring of Fire” traverse?
    a) 5
    b) 10
    c) 15
    d) 20
    Answer: c) 15