Earthquakes rattle Taiwan

Two earthquakes, minutes apart, have rattled Taiwan, but there are no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

The epicentre of the stronger quake, which struck at 2.05 am local time (6.05am NZ), measured 6.3 on the Richter scale, and was located 57km east of Taiwan's coastal city of Hualien, said the Central Weather Bureau. 

It was recorded at a depth of 9.3 km, the bureau said on its Web site www.cwb.gov.tw.

The second quake came three minutes after another smaller tremor hit Taiwan's eastern Ilan county and measured 4.0 on the Richter scale at a depth of 12.9km.

The US Geological Survey only reported one magnitude 6.3 earthquake which it said struck 40 miles east of Hualien and was 15.3 miles deep.

USGS said there was no immediate tsunami warning but according to the USGS, earthquakes of this size sometimes generate local tsunamis that can be destructive along coasts located within 62 miles of the earthquake epicentre.

Earthquakes occur frequently in Taiwan, which lies on a seismically active stretch of the Pacific basin.

One of Taiwan's worst-recorded quakes occurred in September 1999.

Measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale, it killed more than 2,400 people and destroyed or damaged 50,000 buildings.

- Reuters