On 31 March 2002, an earthquake of magnitude ML=6.8 occurred in northeastern Taiwan that caused five deaths and damage to more than 300 buildings. The earthquake left some important lessons; these lessons were not considered after the 1999 Chi-Chi (Taiwan) earthquake but must be taken into account for the management of a similar situation in the future. This article first presents the strong motion characteristics found from the ground accelerations recorded from this event. In particular, the basin effects on the distribution of ground motion intensities observed in Taipei Basin are critically reviewed. Observations of some severe building damage following the earthquakes are then summarized. The building damage modes for this event, particularly due to the basin effect, are explored in detail. The characteristics of the building disaster reflected a typical situation that can occur in cities located in high seismic risk. Finally, the collapse of the two tower cranes on, and its impact on, the Taipei Financial Center construction site are described in detail. This article presents the main lessons learned from this earthquake in the light of work performed by the research team for natural disaster from the National Center for Research on Earthquake Engineering, Taiwan.

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