Taiwan is an island that has frequent earthquakes. Although residents on the island are pretty used to smaller earthquakes, the recent 4.4 earthquake near the capital city of Taipei caused consternation because it was only 11.2 km (7.2 miles) from the metropolitan city where 6 million people live. Could Taipei become the next Pompeii?

Northern Taiwan has had two major earthquakes in the last month. Residents in Taipei were startled by a 4.4 earthquake on Feb.13th. The tremor was said to be the strongest in 26 years. The epicenter was located at Shilin District, a suburb of Taipei and only 7.2 miles from Taipei's City Hall.

The quake aroused concern that the nearby Tatun Volcano Group, a group of mountains that are considered dormant volcanoes, will become active again. The last eruption there occurred only 5,000 years ago. Scientists say the seismic activity underneath the Tatun Volcano Group is equivalent to other live volcanoes, however, Seismology Center Director Kuo Kai-wen does not think the volcano will erupt soon.

According to Kuo, “The volcanoes in Tatun are generally considered dormant. Currently, only three to five small earthquakes happen in the area per day. On average, the volcanoes could erupt if there are more than 100 to 200 earthquakes per day, and they have to escalate from deep earthquakes to shallow earthquakes.”

Faced with such a scary scenario, you'd think Taipei's residents would be heading to the nearest airport for a way out. However, optimists among them have decided it's useless to run and have injected a strong dose of humor into a poster spoofing the earthquake scare in the format of a real estate development ad.

The advertisement on the poster for "Neo Pompeii" says:

Front-row view of a volcanic eruption.

Only 5 minutes to airport, and 1 second to Heaven.

The poster immediately became popular. There were comments that perhaps a crisis is an opportunity to see costs fall in the pricey Taipei real estate market.

Update at press time: A magnitude 5.4 earthquake jolted northeastern Taiwan at 4:25 am on Saturday, Feb. 22nd.