Breathtaking Landscapes A Natural Geography Classroom
The East Coast region follows the convergence of the Philippine and Eurasian tectonic plates. The land was formed by the movement of the plates along with sea erosion and rivers that flow down steep hills and through deep valleys and terraces. The East Coast consists of a great variety of coral reefs and erosion has, over time, created an ever-moving landscape.
The coastal range, which was formed by volcanic rock is the northern extension of Luzon Island. The range was formed by the solidification of andesite magma, sedimentary stone from the ocean bed and igneous rock from the Central Mountain Range. The coastal range is geographically unique and stunning in its beauty.
From Hualien to the Beinan River, the East Coast includes coastal terraces, sandy beaches, gravel beaches, reefs, offshore islands, capes, and marine-erosion land formations such as marine benches, caves, and ditches. As the plates continue to move together,the land will continue to rise. The result is a natural geology classroom.
The Evolution of the Island Arc from the Coastal Range
Four million years ago, the Philippine Sea plate and Eurasian plate collided and formed the Penglai orogeny. This began the rise of Taiwan island from beneath the Pacific Ocean.
The Coastal Range is located between Hualien and Taitung, extending north and south just like two sharp shuttles. The composition of rock found in the Range consists of: Qimei igneous complex rock, the Crest Hill layer, the Da Gangkou layer, the Liji Hill layer and Puyuma conglomerate.
The combination of coastal mountain rocks and the layers have recorded the evolution of how the island arc progressed. This includes volcanic regions, rapid decline in accumulation of thick sediment, and sediment generated by plate collision.
Coral Reef Coast Landforms
Some areas on the East Coast, such as Little Yeliu, Sanxiantai, Da Gangkou and Shitiping, it is possible to see the uplifting of coral reefs. Coral reefs are the accumulation of underwater coral remains. On the east coast, they are scattered around volcanic rocks, and as the land rises, they are also slowly being hoisted onto the coast.
Around 400 million years ago, there was intense volcanic activity on the East Coast. The volcanic activity often sent coarse, fine rock and volcanic ash into the air, which fell on land and in sea, the deposits formed pyroclastic rocks. The finer particles of volcanic ash deposits formed tuff. The white area along the Shitiping Coast is the tuff coast in which you can still see volcanic ash deposits, and the role of water among the layers.
Rocky Coast Landforms
Rocks in the eastern coastal range is mainly gravel, sand shale and andesite volcanic rock. Some areas consist of hard rock and thus formed high peaks and steep sea cliffs. Over time, waves have impacted on the sea cliffs. Erosion has worked to form concave sea walls that continue to develop. Gradually they formed wave-cut platforms or rock units such as rocky terrain.
Gravel Coast Landforms
Judging by the size of each sand sediment one can determine the type of beach. For example, if the sediment is larger than two millimeters in diameter, it is called a gravel beach or gravel shore such as the beach at Sanxiantai. Gravel is mostly made of porphyritic andesite pebbles. A small portion is limestone gravel. Generally speaking, powerful waves can often cause gravel beach development.
Sand Coast Landforms
Beaches are formed by piled up sand carried by waves, coastal streams…etc. If the beach sediment is loose and soft then it is known as a sandy beach or sandy shore. Jiqi on the east coast is a typical sandy shore. Due to differential erosion, Bali Bay with its soft rock, formed by the recessed bay, has the ability to gather sand. Bali Bay is sandy and gray behind a wide coastal terrace.
Across the Tropic of Cancer Rainfall and sunshine
Taiwan is about 250 kilometers long. The Tropic of Cancer, which marks the boundary between the tropics and the subtropics, intersects Taiwan between Hualien and Taitung counties. Therefore, the climate of these two counties is extremely similar. Temperatures in Hualien are traditionally 1-2 degrees lower than in Taitung. Winter temperature ranges from 16 to 20 degrees Celsius. The average summer temperature is 17 to 29 degrees Celsius, but at times can exceed 30 degrees Celsius. The mountains and sea that surround the area protect it from the heat of western Taiwan.
Summer in Taiwan is from May through July. It is the time that brings the southwest wind; From October to the following March is winter, it’s the time when the cold northeast wind prevails from northern China. The wind blows in the same direction as the northeast trade winds, therefore, the winter wind is stronger than the summer monsoon.
The East Coast often gets typhoons, especially between August and October every year.The typhoons that form in the western Pacific Ocean in summer often pass over Taiwan. There is a great likelihood they will come ashore along the East Coast. They often cause floods, landslides and other disasters. Even if a typhoon just grazes Taiwan, huge waves also come crashing onto the shores and make spectacular scenes.
This area has very heavy rainfall. It can reach 2000 mm a year. However, most of rain falls in the torrents that accompany summer typhoons. There are relatively few continuous rainy days. The weather is often sunny and suitable for traveling on the East Coast, especially in Taitung.