ON THIS DATE, A Magnitude 7.0 Earthquake Hit Haiti… | Weather Blog

The January 12, 2010, M 7.0 Haiti earthquake occurred as the results of shallow strike-slip faulting within the boundary area separating the Caribbean plate and the North America plate. Focal mechanism options point out that rupture occurred on both a right-lateral southeast-striking fault or on a left-lateral west-southwest-striking fault. Of those two potential fault orientations, finite-fault modeling of worldwide recorded seismic knowledge is extra in keeping with slip on the west-southwest-striking (left-lateral) fault. On the location of the earthquake, the native plate boundary is dominated by left-lateral strike-slip movement and compression, and accommodates about 20 mm of slip per 12 months, with the Caribbean plate shifting eastward relative to the North America plate.

In keeping with official estimates, 316,000 individuals killed, 300,000 injured, 1.3 million displaced, 97,294 homes destroyed and 188,383 broken within the Port-au-Prince space and in a lot of southern Haiti. 

Haiti occupies the western a part of the island of Hispaniola, one of many Better Antilles Islands, located between Puerto Rico and Cuba. On the location of the January twelfth earthquake, movement between the Caribbean and North America plates is partitioned between two main east-west-trending, strike-slip fault techniques—the Septentrional fault system in northern Haiti and the Enriquillo-Plantain Backyard fault system in southern Haiti.


The situation and focal mechanism options of the earthquake are in keeping with the occasion ensuing from a mix of reverse and left-lateral strike-slip faulting on the Enriquillo-Plantain Backyard fault system. The general Enriquillo-Plantain Backyard fault system accommodates about 7 mm/yr of movement, almost half the whole indirect convergence between the Caribbean and North America plates. The January twelfth mainshock didn’t produce observable floor displacement on the geomorphologically well-expressed foremost strand of the Enriquillo-Plantain Backyard fault system, however seems as an alternative to have primarily concerned rupture of a fault or faults distinct from the beforehand mapped principal strand, inflicting substantial uplift of the Léogâne delta.


The Enriquillo-Plantain Backyard fault zone (EPGFZ) had not produced a significant earthquake in current many years. The EPGFZ is the possible supply of historic massive earthquakes in 1860, 1770, and 1751, although none of those has been confirmed within the area as related to this fault. The sequence of occasions probably related to the Enriquillo fault in 1751–1860 are as follows:

October 18, 1751: a significant earthquake induced heavy destruction within the Gulf of Azua (the japanese finish of the Enriquillo fault); this earthquake additionally generated a tsunami. It’s unclear if the rupture occurred on the Muertos thrust belt or on the japanese finish of the Enriquillo fault.

November 21, 1751: a significant earthquake destroyed Port-au-Prince however was centered to the east of the town on the Plaine du Cul-de-Sac.

June 3, 1770: a significant earthquake destroyed Port-au-Prince once more and gave the impression to be centered west of the town. On account of the 1751 and 1770 earthquakes and minor earthquakes that occurred between them, native authorities required constructing with wooden and forbade constructing with masonry.

April 8, 1860: a significant earthquake occurred farther west of the 2010 earthquake and was accompanied by a tsunami.

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