Over 1,000 sq. km updated in soil liquefaction database: MOEA

TAIPEI (CNA) – Over 1,000 square kilometers of land have been added to an online government database of areas prone to soil liquefaction, according to a statement issued Monday by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).

The statement, issued by the MOEA’s Central Geological Survey, includes information on up to 1,667.6 sq. km of land in northern Tainan, northern and southern Kaohsiung, the Hengchun plain in Pingtung and Hualien County.

The database went online March 14, 2016 and was previously updated Dec. 16 that year to cover Taipei, New Taipei, Hsinchu City, Hsinchu County, Taichung, Changhua County, Yunlin County, Chiayi City, Chiayi County, parts of Tainan, parts of Kaohsiung, Pingtung County and Yilan County, according to the statement.

After the most recent update, the database now covers soil liquefaction information on a total of some 7,900 sq. km., the statement said.

Residents can visit https://www.moeacgs.gov.tw/2019.htm to check if their homes are in soil liquefaction-prone areas.

Different colors are used to represent different levels of vulnerability, with green representing low vulnerability, yellow representing medium vulnerability and red representing high vulnerability.

Soil liquefaction occurs when shaking during an earthquake causes saturated granular material to behave like a liquid.

The condition has become an issue of public concern since it is believed to have been a factor in the collapse of a building and the subsequent death of 117 people in a magnitude 6.4 earthquake that struck southern Taiwan Feb. 6, 2016.

The database is expected to be updated again in 2020 to include information for Keelung, Taoyuan, Miaoli County, Nantou County and Taitung County, the statement added.

By Tsai Peng-min and William Yen