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Records of Felt Earth Tremors in Hong Kong

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Educational Resources

Records of Felt Earth Tremors in Hong Kong

Since the Hong Kong Observatory recorded locally felt earth tremors in 1905, a total of 176 earth tremors of various intensities were registered. Since the Hong Kong Short-period Seismograph Network went into operation in 1979, 67 locally felt earth tremors were recorded, less than two per year on average.

No locally felt earth tremor had ever caused any casualty since records began. Most of these earth tremors were of intensity V(5) or below on the Modified Mercalli Scale. The strongest tremor was of intensity VI to VII (6 - 7) which occurred in 1918 and was caused by an earthquake near Shantou about 300 kilometres from Hong Kong. The 1918 tremor caused minor damage to a few buildings, which was the only event with damage on record. The latest earth tremor of higher intensity was of intensity V to VI (5 - 6) that occurred in 1994, and was caused by an earthquake over the southern part of Taiwan Strait.

Most of the earthquake epicentres that caused felt tremors in Hong Kong were situated outside the territory in areas near Taiwan, the northern part of the South China Sea, Heyuan and Yangjiang of Guangdong, the border between Guangdong and Fujian, Beibu Wan and the Philippines etc. Since 1979, there were altogether seven locally felt tremors with epicentres located in Hong Kong, at Maipo (once in 1983), over the sea east of Lantau Island (twice in 1982 and three times in 1995 respectively), near Tai Lam Chung Reservoir (once in 2014) and near Cheung Chau (once in 2019). All these tremors were of Intensity below V(5).

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