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Taipei earthquake caused by volcanic activity

Weather bureau says no signs Datunshan eruption is imminent

Fumaroles in Xiaoyoukeng on Yangmingshan. (Yangmingshan National Park photo)

Fumaroles in Xiaoyoukeng on Yangmingshan. (Yangmingshan National Park photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Central Weather Bureau (CWB) on Friday (Feb. 17) said that an earthquake recorded in Taipei the same day was caused by volcanic activity, but stressed that it was not indicative of an imminent eruption.

A magnitude 3.1 earthquake jolted the Greater Taipei area at 9:08 a.m., according to the CWB. The epicenter of the temblor was 14.1 km north of Taipei City Hall in the city's Beitou District at a shallow focal depth of 4.8 km.

The quake’s intensity registered a 3 in Taipei City and New Taipei City. Many Beitou residents reported seeing their houses shake during the temblor.

CWB Seismological Center head Chen Kuo-chang (陳國昌) was cited by Yahoo News as saying the quake originated from the Datun volcano group. After conducting wave pattern analysis, Chen said the bureau determined the temblor was caused by an influx of groundwater into the magma chamber beneath the volcano group, and not the seismic fault located at the base of Yangmingshan.

Chen added that if the earthquake occurred on the fault at the base of Yangmingshan, it is very likely that there would be "more serious disasters."

He added the Datun volcano group is very active, with about 20 to 30 minor earthquakes per day. However, Chen said that most of the earthquakes are of magnitude 1.0 or less. According to Chen, the earthquake that occurred Friday was the 17th time that a magnitude of 3 or higher had been recorded over the past 20 years.

The last time there was an earthquake with a magnitude in excess of 3.0 was late 2021. He emphasized that although today's earthquake was related to volcanic activity, it was not related to an eruption, and the "public should not worry too much."