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East Coast rocked by magnitude-6.3 quake

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A magnitude-6.3 earthquake struck Eastern Taiwan's Hualien County at around 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 31, according to the Central Weather Bureau.

The quake, which rattled eastern Taiwan at 8:02 p.m., struck near Ruisui (瑞穗) in southern Hualien County, about 52.9 kilometers south of the seat of the county government. The epicenter was at a depth of 19.5 kilometers, the bureau's Seismological Center said.

The tremor was felt across Taiwan's main island. As of press time, there were no reports of injuries. According to media reports, the quake caused some communication disruptions in Taipei and New Taipei City.

Foam ceiling tiles in the arrival hall of Terminal 2 at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport fell. Ceramic tiles also fell at a restaurant where Premier Jiang Yi-huah was meeting with the press. No one was reported injured in these two incidents.

The strongest tremor recorded, located in Ruisui's Hongye Village, had an intensity of 6 on Taiwan's 7-point scale.

Hualien City, Nanshan Village in the northeastern county of Yilan, and Hehuan Mountain in the central county of Nantou experienced intensity-5 tremors, the bureau said.

New Taipei City in the north registered an intensity of 4, while neighboring Taipei recorded intensity-3 tremors, as did Taichung in Central Taiwan.

Kaohsiung in the south measured shaking of an intensity of 2.

According to the weather bureau's seismic center, the tremor represented a normal release of energy.

It was the third inland earthquake of magnitude 6 or higher this year, bureau officials said.

The previous two occurred in Nantou County. The first earthquake registered a magnitude of 6.2 on Mar. 27. The second earthquake registered a magnitude of 6.5 on June 2.

Hsinchu Science Park, where many of Taiwan's high-tech firms are headquartered, did not report any damage from the earthquake.

The Science Park reported that the intensity of the tremors registered in Hsinchu was three, which was not strong enough to trigger an evacuation, according to Tu Chi-hsiang, deputy director-general of the science park administration.

The administration did not receive any reports of damage from the 500 companies housed in the science park's six satellite facilities, Tu told reporters, speaking about an hour after the earthquake.

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An employee of the Central Weather Bureau's Seismology Center points at a seismic chart following an earthquake, in Taipei yesterday. A 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit Hualien at 8:02 p.m. yesterday. (CNA)

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