TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) _ A large earthquake that shook Taiwan early today was strong enough to cause widespread damage _ but didn't because of its location, experts said.

The tremor measured 6.9 on the Richter scale, but no major building damage, injuries or deaths were reported. The earthquake caused a few brief power outages and other minor damage.

It was centered deep in the Pacific Ocean, 27 miles northeast of the city of Taitung in southeast Taiwan, said Lu Pei-ling, a seismologist with the Central Weather Bureau.

Still, the quake was close enough to the island to shake people awake at 1:53 a.m. local time and knock things off shelves in the capital, Taipei, 90 miles north of Taitung. In Taitung and the east coast city of Hualien further north, several people spent the night in tents, fearing another quake would flatten their homes.

Thousands of tremors and aftershocks have rattled Taiwan since a 7.6-magnitude quake hit the island on Sept. 21, killing more than 2,400 people and leaving thousands homeless. About eight of the tremors were of magnitudes between 6 and 6.8, the weather bureau has said.

Last month, a 6.4 magnitude quake injured dozens of people and damaged several buildings in the southern city of Chiayi.

Today, a 4.5-magnitude quake struck south of the central Taiwanese city of Taichung, close to the epicenter of the deadly Sept. 21 tremor, the bureau said. No damage or injuries were immediately reported.