Taipei - A strong earthquake hit eastern Taiwan on Thursday, shaking buildings over a wide area including the capital. There were no immediate reports of serious damage or casualties.
The US Geological Survey said the earthquake struck at 19:02 and measured magnitude 6.3. It was centered in a remote mountainous area 45km south-southwest of the coastal city of Hualian at a depth of just 12km, it said.
Buildings swayed for more than 10 seconds and startled residents ducked for cover in Taipei, the capital, which is about 150km from the epicenter.
Taiwan's railway administration immediately suspended train service while it checked for any possible damage to tracks.
Local TV channels reported that there appeared to be almost no damage in Hualian. However, it could take some time for the full impact of the quake to be evaluated because of the remoteness of the epicenter.
Earthquakes frequently rattle Taiwan, but most are minor and cause little or no damage.
However, a magnitude-7.6 earthquake in central Taiwan in 1999 killed more than 2 300 people.