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Taiwan and its Earthquake Problem

Published: 11th Apr, 2024

Taiwan and its Earthquake Problem


Taiwan was recently hit by its biggest earthquake in at least 25 years.

Reason behind earthquakes in Taiwan

  • Notably, Taiwan is prone to earthquakes as it lies along the Pacific “Ring of Fire” — where 90% of the world’s earthquakes take place.
  • The island and its surrounding waters have registered about 2,000 earthquakes with a magnitude of 4.0 or greater since 1980, and more than 100 earthquakes with a magnitude above 5.5.
  • Vulnerability of Ring of Fire to earthquakes: The Ring of Fire witnesses so many earthquakes due to constant sliding past, colliding into, or moving above or below each other of the tectonic plates.
    • As the edges of these plates are quite rough, they get stuck with one another while the rest of the plate keeps moving.
  • An earthquake occurs when the plate has moved far enough and the edges unstick on one of the faults.
  • Taiwan experiences earthquakes due to the interactions of two tectonic plates
    • Philippine Sea Plate
    • Eurasian Plate

Volcano Issue

  • The existence of volcanoes in the Ring of Fire is also due to the movement of tectonic plates.
  • Many of the volcanoes have been formed through a process known as
  • It takes place when two plates collide with each other and the heavier plate is shoved under another, creating a deep trench.

Fact Box: Ring of Fire

  • The Ring of Fire is a string of hundreds of volcanoes and earthquake-sites which runs along the Pacific Ocean.
  • It is a semicircle or horse shoe in shape and stretches nearly 40,250 kilometres.
  • The Ring of Fire traces the meeting points of numerous tectonic plates, including the Eurasian, North American, Juan de Fuca, Cocos, Caribbean, Nazca, Antarctic, Indian, Australian, Philippine, and other smaller plates, which all encircle the large Pacific Plate.

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