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Magnitude-5.4 earthquake hits North Taiwan

TAIPEI--A magnitude-5.4 earthquake rocked northern Taiwan early yesterday, the biggest temblor Taiwan has seen since the beginning of 2014, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said.

There were no reports of injuries as of 8 a.m.

The quake, with its epicenter located in Yilan County, were felt most significantly in Yilan's Luodong Township, where an intensity-5 tremor lasted for 26.7 seconds, according to bureau data.

Many residents in northern Taiwan, including those in the capital, were wakened and could feel strong temblor that lasted for more than 10 seconds at about 4:25 a.m.

An aftershock with a magnitude of 4.2 occurred in Yilan some two minutes later, with both quakes representing normal releases of energy, said CWB Seismology Center Director Kuo Kai-wen.

There were 20 earthquakes registering a magnitude of 5 or above in 2012 and 2013, respectively, he said.

The temblor was a result of subduction, a tectonic plate movement that occurs as the Philippine Sea Plate is descending under the Eurasian Plate, causing an earthquake-prone edge where Taiwan is situated in, Kuo explained.

Unlike earthquakes triggered by a fault movement, earthquakes of this kind usually have an epicenter deep beneath the earth's surface and tend to be stronger in power, he said.

The epicenter of the latest earthquake was located in Datong Township, 16.8 kilometers west of Yilan City, at a depth of 61.9 kilometers, according to the Central Weather Bureau.

Since the beginning of 2014, Taiwan has been hit by several earthquakes with a magnitude of at least four.

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