On 27 March and 2 June 2013, two large earthquakes with magnitudes of ML 6.2 and ML 6.5, named the Nantou earthquake series, struck central Taiwan. These two events were located at depths of 15–20 km, which implied that the mid-crust of central Taiwan is an active seismogenic area even though the subsurface structures have not been well established. To determine the origins of the Nantou earthquake series, we investigated both the rupture processes and seismic wave propagations by employing inverse and forward numerical simulation techniques. Source inversion results indicated that one event ruptured frommiddle to shallow crust in the northwest direction, while the other ruptured towards the southwest. Simulations of 3-D wave propagation showed that the rupture characteristics of the two events result in distinct directivity effects with different amplified shaking patterns. From the results of numerical earthquake modeling, we deduced that the occurrence of the Nantou earthquake series may be related to stress release from the easternmost edge of a preexistent strong basement in central Taiwan. 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).