Major earthquake strikes Taiwan; rattles buildings

TAIPEI, Taiwan The U.S. Geological Survey said the 6.4-magnitude quake was centered off the eastern coast of Taiwan, about 15 miles (25 kilometers) from Hualien. It struck at a depth of about 30 miles (45 kilometers). The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not immediately issue any warning.

Buildings shook in the capital for several seconds after the quake struck.

Local TV reported at least four people in the capital had minor injuries, most resulting from falling debris. The reports said traffic Taipei's subways and the island's high speed railroad was suspended.

TV stations also reported that windows were blown out in a Hualien hotel and that there was minor property damage in Taipei. Earthquakes frequently rattle Taiwan but most are minor and cause little or no damage.

However, a 7.6-magnitude earthquake in central Taiwan in 1999 killed more than 2,300 people. And in 2006 a 6.7-magnitude tremor south of Kaohsiung severed undersea cables and disrupted telephone and Internet service to millions throughout Asia.

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