. Earth Science News .

Haiti should brace for more devastating quakes: study
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Jan 26, 2012

The 2010 earthquake that devastated southern Haiti may have opened a new era of seismic activity and residents should brace for more massive temblors, said a US study on Thursday.

The 7.0 quake that killed 250,000 people and leveled much of the capital Port-au-Prince, was of a magnitude unseen on the island since the 18th century, said the study in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.

A equivalent 6.6 level quake in 1701, centered in the same region and described in similar ways to the 2010 temblor according to historical accounts, was followed by three big quakes -- two in 1751 and one in 1770, said the study.

Those quakes would be equal to about 7.5, 6.6 and 7.5 today, and were all located on or near the same crack in the Earth's crust known as the Enriquillo fault that extends along southern Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

The fault system has accumulated "considerable potential slip" since the 18th century, and regional stress levels in the Earth may be sufficient to unleash more massive temblors in the coming years, said the research.

"The 2010 Haiti earthquake may mark the beginning of a new cycle of large earthquakes on the Enriquillo fault system after 240 years of seismic quiescence," said the study, led by William Bakun of the US Geological Survey.

"The entire Enriquillo fault system appears to be seismically active; Haiti and the Dominican Republic should prepare for future devastating earthquakes."

Bakun's study reviews the history of earthquakes and hurricanes on the Caribbean island known as Hispaniola since it was first discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492 and was swiftly colonized by Europeans.

"There are ample Spanish, French, and British accounts describing the social and physical conditions of Hispaniola in the past 500 years," said the study.

"The five centuries of seismic history of the island of Hispaniola is arguably the longest in the western hemisphere."

With that historical perspective, the island's seismic record is comparable to that of the San Andreas fault in California, where 56 years of "significant earthquake activity" beginning in 1850 culminated in San Francisco's 7.8 quake on the moment magnitude scale in 1906, Bakun wrote.

USGS analysts have predicted that there is a 62 percent probability of another major, damaging earthquake in the San Francisco area by 2031.

And while the science of predicting earthquakes is imprecise, seismologists are gaining better knowledge of risk rates using more advanced technologies and an examination of the historical record for clues.

There are no reports of earthquakes in the area before 1700, and no comparable ones until 2010, though there was a quake in 1860 that was centered further north on the island and is considered unrelated to the fault system.

An analysis of past patterns suggests that the 2010 quake was a re-rupture of the same zone as in 1701, indicating that the Enriquillo fault system may be on a 310 year cycle, said the study.

Bakun and colleagues noted that much of the devastation around the capital in 2010 was due to "inadequate building practices," and urged more seismic hazard mitigation efforts in future construction across southern Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Related Links
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
When the Earth Quakes
A world of storm and tempest

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Italy's ex-safety chief faces homicide probe over quake
Rome (AFP) Jan 25, 2012
Italian justice has begun investigating ex-civil security chief Guido Bertolaso, who could face involuntary homicide charges of under-estimating the impending dangers ahead of a killer quake in 2009. The probe, announced Tuesday, was opened after a complaint from a lawyer in L'Aquila where some 300 people died in the quake that devastated the capital of Abruzzo, east of Rome. The lawyer ... read more

N.Z. quake bill to approach $25 bn: central bank

NOAA satellites aid in the rescue of 207 people in 2011

Radiation fears slow Japan tsunami clear-up

Five Japan committees keep no disaster records

World's most powerful X-ray laser creates 2-million-degree matter

Netflix gains subscribers, shares surge

Android grabs more tablet market share: survey

iPhone sales drive record quarter for Apple

Carbon dioxide is driving fish crazy

Iraq water crisis could stir ethnic clash

Pollution sparks panic water buying in China

Great Barrier Reef hopes on ice in Aussie Outback

Norway wants to block China from Arctic Council: report

Satellites detect abundance of fresh water in the Arctic

Alaskan farewell to Russian tanker after fuel run

Russian ship leaves after ice-bound Alaska fuel run

Barclays tops roll of shame at Davos

Improving crops from the roots up

Grafted watermelon plants take in more pesticides

'Rules' may govern genome evolution in young plant species

Satellite snaps Costa Rica volcano action

Flood survivors rebuild in Philippine danger zones

Haiti should brace for more devastating quakes: study

Waiting for Death Valley's Big Bang

New AU headquarters marks strong China-Africa ties

African Union unveils Chinese-built headquarters

US Navy SEALs prove their mettle again

Former colonial soldiers in Mozambique hope for pensions

Arabia saw first humans out of Africa

The price of your soul: How the brain decides whether to 'sell out'

Penn Researchers Help Solve Questions About Ethiopians' High-Altitude Adaptations

Babies with three parents a possibility


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement