5 thoughts on “Tropical Storm Khanun”

  1. Hahaha. Doesn’t even compare. For all of California’s reputation as a hot spot for quakes, I think I felt maybe 4 or 5 quakes in almost 20 years of living there. Here in Taiwan I feel one once every 1-2 months, and I’ve experienced two quakes over magnitude 7 (though not close to the epicenter, still plenty scary) in the less than 6 years here. And it doesn’t stop at just quakes and typhoons… we have plenty of funny diseases like dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, SARS, and whatever else springs up next from rural China.


  2. … and avian flu. Yes, Asia really is the hotbed of respiratory diseases and a lot of emerging ones. Due to the population density in most of the cities too… *shakes head*

    I am surprised though by the quake activity. Are these of the same level of threat as those in the Indonesian areas? I know Sumatra and Java are thought to have the kind of catastrophic volcano/quake activity every hundred years or so…. the U.S. Cascades (about the same). When was the last time Taiwan had a catastrophic geological event?


  3. Keep in mind that not a lot is known about long term earthquake activity in Taiwan. The strongest quake in recorded history was the chi-chi quake on 1999-09-21. That one measured magnitude 7.7, which is classified as major by USGS. It killed about 2,400 people and destroyed about 100,000 buildings.

    The highest category is a great quake which is 8.0 or higher. Historically there have been 5 major quakes recorded in Taiwan in the last century, 1905, 1935, 1951, 1999 and 2002. Records of the first three are not very good, and there aren’t reliable records of quakes prior to that. Regardless, the 1999 quake is considered by scientists to be the peak for this area.

    The good news is that the frequent amount of moderate (5.x) and strong (6.x) earthquakes is probably relieving stress buildup that would be needed for a great quake. The problem in places like Seattle or the Ohio/Kentucky area is that stresses build up over hundreds of years with no weak quakes to release it, and then it snaps all at once in one huge event. That probably will not happen in Taiwan.

    As for volcanic activity, Taiwan has been fairly quiet for a while. Yangming Mountain on the north edge of Taipei City is a dormant volcano, but now it just vents steam and provides for a robust hot spring industry. You can see pictures of our visit to the largest vent area on Yangming Mountain here:

    (7 pictures starting with this one)


  4. Oh and in case you were wondering, the 1999 7.7 quake and the 2002 7.1 quake were the magnitude 7 ones I was here for. They both knocked over some small items, but otherwise there was no significant damage to our house, but they both caused building collapses in Taipei, a significant distance from the epicenters. The big problem in Taipei is that it is built on a flood plain, so the soft soil is subject to liquefaction effects in large quakes. Basically soft soils act more like liquids with strong enough shaking.


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