- "Blind fault" may have produced 6.1 temblor
- Fault may be able to produce much stronger quake, Taiwanese official says
- Quake in area killed more than 2,400 in 1999
A deadly earthquake that struck Taiwan on Wednesday may have occurred on a "blind fault" and that fault could produce a far stronger earthquake in the future, the head of the country's Seismology Center said.
Wednesday's 6.1-magnitude temblor killed one person and left 19 others injured, according to reports from the state-run Central News Agency. The U.S. Geological Survey put the quake's magnitude at 6.0 and its epicenter at a depth of 20 kilometers (about 13 miles). Aftershocks from magnitude 4.3 to 3.7 were reported.
Seismology Center Director Kuo Kai-wen said Wednesday's quake may have been the third large quake on a blind fault east of the Chelungpu Fault, which produced a 7.3-magnitude quake in 1999 that left more than 2,400 people dead.
Blind faults are not on the country's fault maps, Kuo said.
"Those faults cannot be seen with the naked eye and can only be determined through special instruments or exposed by earthquakes," he said in the Central News Agency report.
Besides Wednesday's quake, temblors of magnitudes 6.7 and 6.1 struck the area in 2000 and 2009, respectively, pointing to the existence of the blind fault, Kuo said.
He said the blind fault may be more than 100 kilometers (62 miles) long, making it capable of producing a quake of more than 7.0 magnitude, which is could do serious damage.
"The longer the fault, the stronger the earthquake," he said.
In Wednesday's quake, a 71-year-old woman was killed when a temple wall collapsed on her, the news agency reported, citing Taiwan's National Fire Agency. The 19 injuries included students who were hit by books falling from shelves at local schools and a plant worker hit by a falling piece of machinery, the report said.
Other damage included cracks in buildings and goods shaken from store shelves, reports said.
The temblor stopped service on 90 trains, affecting 17,000 passengers.