An earthquake, also known as a quake, tremor or temblor, is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves. The seismicity, seismism or seismic activity of an area refers to the frequency, type and size of earthquakes experienced over a period of time.
At the Earth's surface, earthquakes manifest themselves by shaking and sometimes displacement of the ground. When the epicenter of a large earthquake is located offshore, the seabed may be displaced sufficiently to cause a tsunami. Earthquakes can also trigger landslides, and occasionally volcanic activity.
Southern Taiwan rocked by 5.5-magnitude quake
Agence France-Presse in Taipei
A 5.5-magnitude earthquake struck off southern Taiwan on Thursday, the island’s Seismology Center said, but there were no reports of any damage or casualties.
The tremor, which was felt across the south of the island, struck at 6.31pm, 22.1 kilometres south of the island’s second biggest city Kaohsiung, at a depth of 33 kilometres under the sea, the centre said.
Seismologists attributed the lack of damage caused to the quake’s relatively deep epicentre.
Taiwan lies near the junction of two tectonic plates and is regularly hit by earthquakes.
A 5.9-magnitude quake in February sent people rushing onto the streets of the island’s second-largest city of Kaohsiung and led to a temporary suspension of rail services, but no major damage was reported.
In September 1999, a 7.6-magnitude tremor killed around 2,400 people in the deadliest natural disaster in the island’s recent history.