Earthquake Shakes Taiwan, Injuries Reported

Taiwan was shaken with moderate earthquake on Thursday. According to government agencies the quake knocking out electric service to more than half a million customers and causing a fire in a textile factory, although injuries appeared to be limited.

The quake, with a magnitude of 6.4, struck at 8:18 a.m. in a mountainous region near the southern city of Kaohsiung, the Central Weather Bureau reported on its Web site. More than 120 aftershocks have since been recorded, the bureau said.

Buildings in the capital, Taipei, also swayed for several minutes, New York Times reports.

No tsunami alerts were issued. Taiwan was under a tsunami warning that covered many Pacific nations after the Chilean earthquake last weekend, but no huge waves or damage were reported.

The quake struck Taiwan around the same time that strong aftershocks were reported across the Pacific in Chile, where nearly 800 people died in Saturday's earthquake and subsequent tsunami. Today's aftershocks prompted more wave warnings, but they were later lifted.

The director of the Central Weather Bureau's seismology center, Kuo Kai-wen, told The Associated Press that the Taiwan quake wasn't geologically related to the Chile one or its aftershocks.

But he said its intensity was unusual for the area. "This is the biggest quake to hit this region in more than a century," he said, AOL News reports.

The strong earthquake caused panic and fueled local speculation that there might be an abnormal increase in the frequency of large earthquakes, given the recent earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, although Shih pointed out that the frequency of quake occurrence worldwide is still within the normal range.

In addition, Chen Yu-kao, a seismology professor at National Taiwan University said there was no relationship between Thursday's temblor and the 8.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Chile Feb. 27, killing more than 800 people, Focus Taiwan News Channel reports.

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