Powerful M7.4 earthquake hits Taiwan, the strongest in 25 years

taiwan m7.4 earthquake april 3 2024 location map

A strong and shallow earthquake registered by the USGS as M7.4 hit eastern Taiwan at 23:58 UTC on April 2, 2024 (07:58 LT, April 3). The agency is reporting a depth of 34.8 km (21.6 miles). EMSC is reporting M7.4 at a depth of 20 km (12.4 miles). This is the strongest quake to hit Taiwan since the 1999 Jiji earthquake.

The epicenter was located 18.1 km (11.2 miles) SSW of Hualien City (population 350 468), 62.4 km (38.8 miles) ESE of Puli (population 86 406), 82.8 km (51.4 miles) E of Lugu (population 17 746), and 90.5 km (56.2 miles) E of Zhongxing New Village (population 25 549), Taiwan.

213 000 people are estimated to have felt severe shaking, 537 000 very strong, 15 665 000 strong and 3 191 000 moderate.

Based on the preliminary earthquake parameters, hazardous tsunami waves are possible for coasts located within 300 km (180 miles) of the earthquake, NWS PTWC said at 00:08 UTC. “Hazardous tsunami waves from this earthquake are possible within 300 km (180 miles) of the epicenter along the coasts of Taiwan.”

In an update posted at 01:58 UTC, NWS PTWC said the tsunami threat from this earthquake has now passed. However, minor sea fluctuation up to 0.3 m (1 foot) above and below normal tide may continue over the next few hours.

The following are tsunami wave observations from coastal and/or deep-ocean sea level gauges at the indicated locations:

Gauge LocationCoordinatesTime of Measure (UTC)Maximum Tsunami HeightWave Period (min)
Hualien TW24.0N 121.6E00:081.00M / 3.3FT10
Ishigakijima JP24.3N 124.2E01:340.16M / 0.5FT14
Chengong TW23.1N 121.4E00:410.45M / 1.5FT18
Longdong TW25.1N 121.9E00:290.21M / 0.7FT6

The USGS issued a Yellow alert for shaking-related fatalities and economic losses. Some casualties and damage are possible and the impact should be relatively localized. Past yellow alerts have required a local or regional-level response.

Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are a mix of vulnerable and earthquake-resistant construction. The predominant vulnerable building types are unknown/miscellaneous types and heavy wood frame construction.

Recent earthquakes in this area have caused secondary hazards such as tsunamis and landslides that might have contributed to losses.

Numerous aftershocks hit the region, including M6.4 at 00:11 UTC.

The Taiwan government said that 7 people died in the earthquake, over 710 were injured and 77 were still feared trapped in rubble.

Fire authorities said about 60 of the roughly 77 trapped were caught in a tunnel just north of Hualien city.

Most power has been restored after the quake, electricity utility Taipower said, with the island’s two nuclear power stations unaffected, Reuters reported.

Taiwan’s high-speed rail operator said no damage or injuries were reported on its trains, although services would be delayed as it made inspections.

Estimated population exposure to earthquake shaking

taiwan m7.4 earthquake april 3 2024 usgs epe
taiwan m7.4 earthquake april 3 2024 usgs epet

Selected cities exposed

taiwan m7.4 earthquake april 3 2024 usgs sce

Regional seismicity

taiwan m7.4 earthquake april 3 2024 usgs emsc rs


19:24 UTC

The number of fatalities rose to 9 and the number of injured to 900.

50 workers traveling in minibusses to a hotel in a national park are missing.

23:05 UTC, April 5

The death toll rose to 12 and the number of injured to 1 113.

Around 650 people are waiting for help in hard-to-reach areas while 11 people are still missing.

13:11 UTC, April 22

The death toll rose to 17.


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