Written by on . Last updated June 13th, 2024.

In the Philippine Sea 28 kilometer from Hualien City, Taiwan, a shallow and significant M5.6 earthquake occurred in the late afternoon of Monday May 6th, 2024. Shaking may have been felt by a total of 24 million people. Japan is also near its epicenter.

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Earthquake Summary

This earthquake hit under water in the Philippine Sea, right off the coast of Taiwan (2 mi offshore), 28 kilometer south of Hualien City in Hualien County. The center of this earthquake had a very shallow depth of 20 km. Shallow earthquakes usually have a larger impact than earthquakes deep in the earth.

Date and Time: May 6, 2024 17:45 (Taipei Time)
- May 6, 2024 09:45 Universal Time.
Location: 28 km south of Hualien City, Hualien County, Taiwan.
Coordinates 23°43'33"N 121°34'50"E.
Map: Map of area around epicenter.
Map of area around epicenter. Click to open in Google Maps.
Magnitude: MAG 5.6
Detected by 23 stations. Maximum Error Range ±0.065 .
Depth: 20 km (12 mi)
A very shallow depth.
Max. Intensity:
VII
Very Strong

On the Modified Mercalli Scale.
Tsunami Risk: Low tsunami risk
Earthquakes under MAG-6.5 do not usually cause tsunami's.
Always stay cautious - More info here.

Minimal impact predicted

Based on scientific estimates by the US Geographic Survey (USGS), the risk of high fatalities for this earthquake is classified at level GREEN (low). They expect an 65% likelyhood of between 0 and 1 fatalities, and a 96% chance that the number of fatalities falls no higher than 10.

The USGS classifies the economic impact of this earthquake at level GREEN (low). They expect an 65% likelyhood of between 0 and 1 million US Dollars in economic damage and impact, and a 96% chance that the economic impact of this earthquake falls no higher than 10 million USD.

Roughly 24 million people exposed to shaking

The USGS has published a report estimating the number of people exposed to this earthquake. Acoording to their analysis, roughly 24 million have been exposed to shaking at an MMI level of II or higher.

The highest earthquake impact level for this earthquake is VI, which corresponds with strong shaking and probably light damage. Roughly 51,850 people are expected to be exposed to this level. Intensity level III was experienced by the majority of people (around 15 million). In their region, weak shaking and probably no damage can be expected.

People in 3 countries have been exposed to shaking. In Taiwan , around 24 million people, with impact levels up to VI (strong shaking, probably light damage). In China and Japan, a smaller number of people were exposed.

People MMI Level Shaking Damage
0
I
Not noticable None
18,180
II
Very weak None
14,600,000
III
Weak Probably none
8,800,000
IV
Light Likely none
223,300
V
Moderate Very light
51,850
VI
Strong Light
0
VII
Very Strong Moderate
0
VIII
Severe Moderate to heavy
0
IX
Violent Heavy
0
X
Extreme Very heavy

Nearby towns and cities

Taiwan and Japan are both located within 300km distance of the epicenter of the earthquake.

Hualien City in Hualien County, Taiwan is the nearest significant place from the epicenter. The earthquake occurred 28 kilometer (17 mi) south of Hualien City. The intensity of shaking and damage in Hualien City is estimated to be around level V on the Modified Mercalli Intensity scale (moderate shaking, very light damage).

Multiple large cities are in proximity of today's earthquake. Taipei is located 147 km to the north and experienced an intensity of III (weak shaking, probably no damage). Hualien City is located 28 km to the north and experienced an intensity of V (moderate shaking, very light damage). Taichung is located 102 km to the west-northwest and experienced an intensity of IV (light shaking, likely no damage).

A complete list of nearby places is included below. Estimated intensity data (MMI) sourced from a shake-map published by the US Geographic Survey is shown where available (cities without data probably experienced little impact).

Overview of nearby places

Distance Place Intensity (MMI)
28 km (17 mi)
N from epicenter
Hualien City

Hualien County, Taiwan.
V
Moderate
68 km (42 mi)
WNW from epicenter
Puli

Nantou County, Taiwan.
IV
Light
84 km (52 mi)
W from epicenter
Lugu

Nantou County, Taiwan.
IV
Light
95 km (59 mi)
WNW from epicenter
Zhongxing New Village

Nantou County, Taiwan.
IV
Light
96 km (60 mi)
WNW from epicenter
Nantou

Nantou County, Taiwan.
IV
Light
102 km (63 mi)
WNW from epicenter
Taichung

Taichung City, Taiwan.
IV
Light
105 km (65 mi)
WNW from epicenter
Yuanlin

Changhua County, Taiwan.
IV
Light
106 km (66 mi)
W from epicenter
Douliu

Yunlin County, Taiwan.
IV
Light
116 km (72 mi)
N from epicenter
Yilan

Yilan County, Taiwan.
IV
Light
132 km (82 mi)
WSW from epicenter
Yujing

Tainan City, Taiwan.
IV
Light
132 km (82 mi)
NNW from epicenter
Daxi

Taoyuan City , Taiwan.
III
Weak
135 km (84 mi)
NNW from epicenter
Hsinchu

Hsinchu County, Taiwan.
III
Weak
144 km (89 mi)
N from epicenter
Banqiao

New Taipei City, Taiwan.
III
Weak
144 km (89 mi)
NNW from epicenter
Taoyuan City

Taoyuan City , Taiwan.
III
Weak
147 km (91 mi)
N from epicenter
Taipei

Taipei City, Taiwan.
III
Weak
157 km (98 mi)
N from epicenter
Keelung

Keelung, Taiwan.
III
Weak
162 km (101 mi)
WSW from epicenter
Tainan

Tainan City, Taiwan.
IV
Light
179 km (111 mi)
SW from epicenter
Kaohsiung

Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
III
Weak
182 km (113 mi)
SW from epicenter
Donggang

Pingtung County, Taiwan.
III
Weak
204 km (127 mi)
W from epicenter
Magong

Penghu County , Taiwan.
210 km (130 mi)
SSW from epicenter
Hengchun

Pingtung County, Taiwan.
III
Weak
271 km (168 mi)
ENE from epicenter
Ishigaki

Okinawa, Japan.
Cities and Towns around the epicenter of this earthquake.

Earthquake Intensity Map

The graph below overlays a map of the region around the epicenter with earthquake intensity data provided by the US Geographic Survey. The highest intensity level detected for this earthquake is VI.

I Not felt
II Weak
III Weak
IV Light
V Moderate
VI Strong
VII Very Strong
VIII Severe
IX Violent
X Extreme
Earthquake Intensity Map based on Shakemap Data provided by USGS.

Shaking reported by 34 people

People that feel an earthquake may report their experience to the US Geographic Survey. Currently, 34 people have reported shaking in 25 places, all within Taiwan.We keep updating this article as more ground reports become available. You may report that you felt this earthquake here.

Places with most reports:

  • Yungho, Taipei Hsien, Taiwan: 4 people.
  • Taichung, Taichung Shih, Taiwan: 3 people.
  • Taoyuan, Taoyuan, Taiwan: 2 people.
  • Sanchung, Taipei Hsien, Taiwan: 2 people.
  • Tainan, Tainan Shih, Taiwan: 2 people.
  • Tali, Taichung Hsien, Taiwan: 2 people.
  • Hsinying, Tainan Hsien, Taiwan: 1 person.
  • Pate, Taoyuan, Taiwan: 1 person.
  • Tucheng, Taipei Hsien, Taiwan: 1 person.
  • Shulin, Taipei Hsien, Taiwan: 1 person.

6 Aftershocks detected

This main shock was followed by 6 smaller aftershocks. Just 7 mins after this main shock, an earthquake measuring MAG-5.4 was detected 3 km (1.9 mi) west of this earthquake.

Before this earthquake struck, 2 smaller foreshocks occurred. Roughly 3 days before this earthquake, a foreshock measuring MAG-4.6 was detected nearby this earthquake.

Overview of foreshocks and aftershocks

Classification Magnitude When Where
Foreshock M 4.6 3 days earlier
May 4, 2024 03:21 (Taipei Time)
9 km (6 mi)
E from Main Shock.
Foreshock M 4.0 2 days earlier
May 4, 2024 10:31 (Taipei Time)
58 km (36 mi)
N from Main Shock.
Main Shock
This Earthquake
M 5.6 May 6, 2024 17:45
(Taipei Time)
-
Aftershock M 5.4 7 mins later
May 6, 2024 17:52 (Taipei Time)
3 km (1.9 mi)
W from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.2 8 hrs later
May 7, 2024 02:10 (Taipei Time)
60 km (37 mi)
NNE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.2 1 day later
May 7, 2024 20:48 (Taipei Time)
2.9 km (1.8 mi)
WSW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.2 1 day later
May 8, 2024 01:21 (Taipei Time)
12 km (8 mi)
WNW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.4 1 day later
May 8, 2024 04:19 (Taipei Time)
22 km (14 mi)
N from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.9 2 days later
May 8, 2024 16:40 (Taipei Time)
9 km (6 mi)
SE from Main Shock.
Detected MAG2.5+ earthquakes within within 100km (62 mi), that occurred in the three days before and after the main shock.

More earthquakes coming?

Aftershocks are usually at least 1 order of magnitude less strong than main shocks. The more time passes, the smaller the chance and likely strength of any potential aftershocks.

The chance that a significant earthquake like this one is followed by an even larger earthquake is not so large. On average, scientists estimate a 94% chance that a major earthquake will not be followed by an even larger one. It is still adviced to be aware of this risk

Read: How to Stay Safe during an Earthquake (cdc.gov).

Earthquakes like this happen often in the region

Earthquakes of this strength are very common in the region. This is the strongest earthquake to hit since April 26th, 2024, when a 5.7 magnitude earthquake hit 48 km (30 mi) further north. An even stronger magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck on April 2nd, 2024.

In total, 45 earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.6 or higher have been registered within 300km (186 mi) of this epicenter in the past 10 years. This comes down to an average of once every 3 months.

Low tsunami risk

DISCLAIMER: We strongly suggest to closely monitor advice from local authorities with regards to tsunami risks. Our analysis is based on automatically collected data from external sources, and these might contain mistakes. In addition, earthquakes can cause landslides that may lead to a tsunami, or be a followed by another, potentially stonger, earthquake.

Based on early data it appears this earthquake was not strong enough (lower than MAG-6.5) to be likely to cause destructive tsunami's. However this earthquake appeared to have hit at a shallow depth under sea, so stay cautious and monitor advice from local authorities.

Tsunami Risk Factors

Factor Under Sea? MAG-6.5 or stronger? Shallow depth?
Explanation Almost all tsunami's are caused by earthquakes with their epicenter under sea or very near the sea. However stay cautious in coastal areas as earthquakes on land may cause landslides into sea, potentially still causing a local tsunami. Under MAG 6.5: Very unlikely to cause a tsunami.
MAG 6.5 to 7.5: Destructive tsunami's do occur, but are uncommon. Likely to observe small sea level changes.
MAG 7.6+: Earthquakes with these magnitudes might produce destructive tsunami's.
Most destructive tsunami's are caused by shallow earthquakes with a depth between 0 and 100km under the surface of the earth. Deeper tsunami's are unlikely to displace to ocean floor.
This Earthquake This earthquake appears to have struck under the sea. Not this earthquake.
This earthquake had a magnitude of 5.6. Earthquakes of this strength are unlikely to trigger a tsunami.
This earthquake occurred at a depth of of 20 km (12 mi). Earthquakes this shallow could trigger a tsunami.

Sources

Last updated 13/06/24 03:28 (). As more information on this earthquake becomes available this article will be updated. This article is automatically composed based on data originating from multiple sources.

  1. US Geographic Society (USGS): Earthquake us6000mwnf
  2. European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC): Earthquake 20240506_0000094
  3. Geonames.org: World Cities Database
  4. Google Maps: Static API
  5. Earthquakelist.org: Historic Earthquakes Database

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