Jump to Main content area



The Central Weather Bureau has been tasked with monitoring seismic activities in Taiwan for more than a century since the installation of Taiwan's first Gray-Milne seismograph at the Taihoku Meteorological Observatory in 1897. The CWB's Seismological Center was established in 1989 to take up this responsibility, and started by expanding the earthquake monitoring network. The Taiwan Strong Motion Instrumentation Program was launched in 1992, and installed many modern instruments in and around Taiwan to build a modern earthquake reporting system. Under the Marine Cable Hosted Observatory project, in operation since 2007, seismographs have been installed in the ocean bottom, which has strengthened the coverage and efficiency of earthquake and tsunami monitoring off the eastern coast of Taiwan. In 2012, the new 24-bit earthquake observation system was activated, and has highly increased micro-earthquake monitoring capabilities, detecting an average of more than 30,000 quakes per year.

The Taiwan Strong Motion Instrumentation Program (TSMIP) is a comprehensive, forward-looking, and continuous project, as detailed in the following:

Phase I (1992-1997) - Building the strong motion monitoring network in metropolitan areas

Phase I of the program was installation of the strong motion observation network in metropolitan areas, including free-field strong motion monitoring and structure monitoring systems. The network collects strong motion data across Taiwan, which has been used to improve hazard mitigation research, and revise building codes and engineering design of structures.

Phase II (1998-2003) - Building the Earthquake Rapid Reporting System

Phase II of the program built the Earthquake Rapid Reporting System, which not only improved the efficiency of felt-earthquake reporting, but also shortened the time needed to provide information to disaster prevention and mitigation agencies.

Phase III (2004-2009) - Developing the Earthquake Early Warning System

Phase III of the program focused on development of the Earthquake Early Warning System. Tasks included researching and developing the Geophysical Data Management System (GDMS), earthquake damage evaluation models, seismic geographic information system, and earthquake prediction technology. The purpose of EEW is to provide earthquake warnings before the arrival of destructive strong shaking. The system can provide 10 to 20 seconds of response time for metropolitan areas which are more than 100 km away from the epicenter, which is precious time for disaster prevention and mitigation.

Phase IV (2010-2015) - Establishing the new-generation seismic monitoring system

The focus of Phase IV was to deploy ocean-bottom seismometers and high-quality borehole seismic stations. Earthquake monitoring networks in the sea and on land were integrated to improve earthquake and tsunami monitoring capabilities and expand the applications of EEW information for disaster prevention.

Phase V (2016-2021) - Applying EEW in disaster prevention

Phase V of the program aims to improve the quality of seismic information and the performance of the EEW system, strengthen the geophysical databases for the advance of earth science in support of development of earthquake disaster prevention technology, and improve the analysis and understanding of seismic earthquake precursors.

In addition, in order to enhance earthquake and tsunami monitoring on the eastern coast of Taiwan, the Seismological Center began the Marine Cable Hosted Observatory Project, the marine Cable Observation System for Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster Prevention, and the Integrated Land and Sea Earthquake Monitoring Network. Completed at the end of November 2020, these projects resulted in a marine cable observation system of 735 km in length, with nine observation stations, the deepest of which lies 5,796 m below the sea level. The Seismological Center plans to further expand the marine cable system to the southern seas of Taiwan, to provide more comprehensive and faster earthquake and tsunami information and warnings.