Taiwan's Geology

Geological map of Taiwan and China coast wbfig1.jpg 103kB!

Why does Taiwan have such high mountains and why does it have so many earthquakes? This diagram shows you why.

The map shows how the Philippine Sea Plate is ramming itself under the Eurasian Plate, forcing the edge of the latter upward to create the mountain range which forms the backbone of Taiwan. It is this tectonic plate movement which causes the frequent earthquakes in Taiwan, as well as Japan, Okinawa and the Philippines.

Soil eroded from the mountains settles in the shallow Taiwan Strait, forming Taiwan's coastal plain, where most of the population is concentrated. The Taiwan Strait is also being filled with sediment deposited by rivers flowing out of the Chinese mainland, like the Min river in Fujian Province. That explains the formation of the Penghu (Pescadore) islands in the Taiwan Strait about 2/3 of the way down Taiwan's west coast.

I admit, I'm no geologist. I stole this map from the Taiwan page on Dr.Donald M. Fisher's web site, so go there to read more.

Report #1 on the Chi-Chi (Taiwan) Earthquake - also known as the 921 earthquake because it occurred on 21 September 1999.
The Taiwan Earthquakes (Ji-Ji) of September, 1999 (Ji-Ji and Chi-Chi are just two ways of spelling the same word.) - Plenty of photos.
The Day Taiwan Crumbled - Time Magazine coverage of the 921 earthquake (21 September 1999.)
14 June 2001 earthquake
What to do for safety before, during and after an earthquake

***LATEST*** A strong earthquake struck Taiwan on 31 March 2002. If you want to read the latest news about it, go to the China Post web site.

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