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hong kong tio earthquake


Tremors rock Lantau | The Standard

Top News | 12 Mar 2024

The Lantau quake's epicenter was 20km west of the observatory.
The Lantau quake's epicenter was 20km west of the observatory.
Eunice Lam

A magnitude 2.0-earthquake jolted Lantau Island at around 1pm yesterday, with the observatory receiving more than 80 reports of minor shaking from shocked residents.

The focal depth of the earthquake that lasted a few seconds was about 10 kilometers, with the epicenter around 20 kilometers west of the observatory in Tsim Sha Tsui.

The initial estimate gave a local intensity of three on the 10-tiered Modified Mercalli intensity scale, which means it could be felt "quite noticeably by people indoors" with the vibration like the passing of light trucks.

Senior scientific officer Lam Ching-chi called it a microearthquake - a very low-intensity tremor that is 2.0 or less in magnitude caused by a fault of the tectonic plate without huge consequences.

But she did not rule out the possibility of minor aftershocks not noticed by people.

Lantau residents took to social media to share their experiences.

One said: "I was playing video games on my bed when my whole bed started shaking."

Another said: "My feeling was the first shock was the strongest and the second weaker."

A woman named Lee, who has lived in Mui Wo for over 10 years - a Lantau rural town two kilometers from the epicenter - said she thought it was thunder at first.

Lee recalled she was having lunch and heard a bang then felt the ground shaking. She turned to her son, but he also thought it was thunder.

A man named Lo who lives in Lo Uk Tsuen in Pui O - around three kilometers from the epicenter - said the shaking lasted for about one or two seconds.

Lo also thought it was like shaking after a huge thunder bolt and described the earthquake as "not very strong."

Former observatory assistant director Leung Wing-mo said earthquakes of intensity three are relatively minor tremors that most people on a street would not feel.

He added earthquakes of similar intensity occur two to three times in Hong Kong annually.

Since the observatory's Hong Kong Short-period Seismograph Network was installed in 1979 the city has recorded 102 earthquake reports.

Most of these occurred in Taiwan, north of the South China Sea, Heyuan and Yangjiang in Guangdong province - outside Hong Kong's territory.

But throughout the past 45 years nine earthquakes were recorded within Hong Long, and six were on Lantau.

All were minor tremors that fell below intensity four, which means the earthquake was felt by nearly everyone, causing dishes and windows to be broken and unstable objects to be overturned.

According to the agency's statistics, the most recent quake in Hong Kong took place near Cheung Chau on December 5, 2019 - a magnitude-1.4 temblor.

A magnitude-1.8 earthquake on January 27, 2014, with its epicenter near Tai Lam Chung Reservoir in Tuen Mun, saw over 50 reports of minor shaking - the largest number ever recorded.

The strongest earthquake that occurred near Hong Kong in the past century was in 1918. That was when a magnitude six to seven temblor shook Shantou in Guangdong, 300 kilometers from Hong Kong.

It caused structural cracks in some buildings, and a school in Mid-Levels had to be relocated after being damaged.

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