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Taiwan to increase monitoring of Meishan Fault

Seismologist says interval between quakes in 1792 and 1906 indicates need for increased vigilance

(National Chung Cheng University photo)

(National Chung Cheng University photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — About 100 earthquake sensors have been embedded in Gukeng Township in Yunlin County and Meishan Township in Chiayi County to monitor the Meishan Fault, as it has not caused any earthquakes stronger than a magnitude seven on the Richter scale in over a century, arousing the suspicion of seismologists.

Wen Strong (温士忠), associate professor at the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, National Chung Cheng University, said that historical data showed that disastrous earthquakes in Taiwan’s southwest in 1792 and 1906 were both related to ruptures of the Meishan Fault, CNA reported. Therefore, Wen said the Meishan Fault has a recurrence interval of about 110 years.

However, since the 1906 tremor, the fault has not generated any major quakes, the seismologist pointed out, adding that heightened monitoring should now be in order.

Wen said that he recently mobilized the department’s teachers and students to place about 100 earthquake sensors to monitor the fault as well as to study the Earth’s crust and layers.

The seismologist explained that one month after the 921 earthquake in 1999, a tremor measuring magnitude six on the Richter scale occurred in Chiayi. Subsequent investigation found that the quake was caused by the Meishan Fault and that some energy in the fault had been released in the process.