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Powerful earthquake in Taiwan triggers tsunami in Japan

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Taiwan earthquake causes tsunami in Japan (Photo: The Associated Press)
  • 7.5 magnitude Taiwan earthquake causes tsunami.
  • Buildings swayed and collapsed.
  • Japan is on alert.

A powerful earthquake shook the entire island of Taiwan early Wednesday, collapsing buildings in a southern city and creating a tsunami that reached the shores of Japan’s southern islands.

Television showed buildings in the eastern city of Hualien shaken from their foundations.

Train service was suspended islandwide, as was subway service in Taipei.

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Powerful Taiwan earthquake causes tsunami in Japan

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PHOTO: X capture

The earthquake occurred at 7:58 a.m. Wednesday on the other side of the island from Taiwan’s capital.

It was strong enough to knock items off shelves in the city, according to The Associated Press.

Taiwan’s earthquake monitoring agency reported it was a magnitude 7.2, while the United States Geological Survey put it at 7.5.

The depth of the earthquake was approximately 21 miles (35 kilometers).

Devastation from collapsed buildings

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PHOTO: The Associated Press

A five-story building in sparsely populated Hualien appeared to be badly damaged, its first floor collapsing and leaving the rest leaning at a 45-degree angle.

In the capital, Taipei, tiles fell off older buildings and inside some newer office complexes, according to The Associated Press.

Train service was suspended across the island of 23 million people, as was subway service in Taipei.

Things quickly returned to normal in the capital, with children going to school and the morning rush hour seemingly normal.

Aftershocks after powerful Taiwan earthquake

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The head of Taiwan’s Earthquake Monitoring Bureau, Wu Chien-fu, said the effects were detected as far away as Kinmen, a Taiwan-controlled island off the coast of China.

Multiple aftershocks were felt in Taipei in the hour following the initial quake, according to The Associated Press.

The USGS said one of the subsequent earthquakes was magnitude 6.5 and at a depth of seven miles (11.8 kilometers).

The earthquake is believed to be the largest in Taiwan since a 1999 tremor that caused extensive damage. Taiwan lies along the Pacific «Ring of Fire,» the seismic fault line surrounding the Pacific Ocean where most of the world’s earthquakes occur.

9-foot sunami hits Japan

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The Japan Meteorological Agency (JAMA) predicted a tsunami up to 9.8 feet (three meters) for the southern Japanese island group of Okinawa.

A one-foot (30 cm) wave was detected off the coast of Yonaguni Island about 15 minutes after the earthquake occurred.

JAMA said the waves were also likely to hit the coasts of Miyako and Yaeyama islands, according to The Associated Press.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no tsunami threat for Hawaii, nor for the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.

Tsunami evacuation warning issued

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PHOTO: The Associated Press

The Sun reported that millions fled their homes after the earthquake and the subsequent tsunami warning.

«Tsunami waves are approaching the coasts. Evacuate as quickly as possible. Waves can hit repeatedly. Continue to evacuate until all warnings are lifted,” JAMA said.

According to The Sun, people were trapped in buildings after the earthquake caused them to tilt from their foundations.

The earthquake has been described as «very shallow,» which may cause further damage.

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