Quantifying the seismicity on Taiwan

Yi Hsuan Wu, Chien Chih Chen, Donald L. Turcotte, John B. Rundle

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12 Scopus citations


We quantify the seismicity on the island of Taiwan using the frequency-magnitude statistics of earthquakes since 1900. A break in Gutenberg-Richter scaling for large earthquakes in global seismicity has been observed, this break is also observed in our Taiwan study. The seismic data from the Central Weather Bureau Seismic Network are in good agreement with the Gutenberg-Richter relation taking b ≈ 1 when M < 7. For large earthquakes, M = 7, the seismic data fit Gutenberg-Richter scaling with b ≈ 1.5. If the Gutenberg-Richter scaling for M < 7 earthquakes is extrapolated to larger earthquakes, we would expect a M > 8 earthquake in the study region about every 25 yr. However, our analysis shows a lower frequency of occurrence of large earthquakes so that the expected frequency of M > 8 earthquakes is about 200 yr. The level of seismicity for smaller earthquakes on Taiwan is about 12 times greater than in Southern California and the possibility of aM≈ 9 earthquake north or south of Taiwan cannot be ruled out. In light of the Fukushima, Japan nuclear disaster, we also discuss the implications of our study for the three operating nuclear power plants on the coast of Taiwan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-469
Number of pages5
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2013


  • Probabilistic forecasting
  • Seismicity and tectonics
  • Statistical seismology


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