Haiti Quake Causes Widespread Death, Destruction
Posted by feww on January 13, 2010
M7.3 EQ Causes Widespread Damage in Haiti
Powerful quake measuring up to 7.3 Mw strikes SW of PORT-AU-PRINCE, many feared dead
FEWW Forecast: Another Major Earthquake Could Strike the Region Soon with a Probability of 60% [P ≥ 0.55]
The quake struck about 15 km (10 miles) SW of PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti at an approximate depth of 10 km on Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 21:53 UTC, USGS/EHP reported.
The mainshock, as of posting, was followed by at least 3 significant aftershocks the largest of which measured up to 6.2 Mw.
Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere with abysmal civic and urban infrastructure. The aftermath of this quake could well prove to be catastrophic, with thousands of people killed or injured.
PORT-AU-PRINCE has an estimated population of about 1.2 million.
Estimated Population Exposed to Earthquake Shaking:
- Up to 240,000 people live in the “extreme” and “violent” zones of the quake epicenter exposed to the earthquake shaking and most severe destruction.
- A total of 1.2 million people live within the “severe” zone of the earthquake damage.
Earthquake Location map. Source: USGS/EHP. Enhanced by FEWW. (Click Images to enlarge).
- Magnitude: [FEWW Estimate: 7.3Mw – USGS/EHP routinely downgrades earthquakes by about 0.3 Mw]
- Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 21:53:09 UTC
- Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 04:53:09 PM at epicenter
- Location: 18.451°N, 72.445°W
- Depth: 10 km (6.2 miles)
- Region HAITI REGION
- 15 km (10 miles) SW of PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti
- 140 km (90 miles) E of Les Cayes, Haiti
- 145 km (90 miles) WNW of Barahona, Dominican Republic
- 1140 km (710 miles) SE of Miami, Florida
- Location Uncertainty: horizontal +/- 8.3 km (5.2 miles)
- Source: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
- USGS/EHP Event ID: us2010rja6
Political Map of Haiti. USGS/EHP
Credit: All images on this page are sourced from USGS/EHP
NWS PACIFIC TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER EWA BEACH HI 23:45 UTC TUE JAN 12 2010
A tsunami measuring 12 cm crest-to-trough was recorded at Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic and a tsunami less than 1 cm crest-to-trough was recorded on a deep ocean gauge in the east-central Caribbean. Based on these data there could have been destructive tsunami waves near the earthquake epicenter but there is not a threat to coastal areas further away.Therefore the tsunami watch issued by this center is now canceled.
For any affected areas – when no major waves have occurred for at least two hours after the estimated arrival time or damaging waves have not occurred for at least two hours then local authorities can assume the threat is passed. Danger to boats and coastal structures can continue for several hours due to rapid currents. As local conditions can cause a wide variation in tsunami wave action the all clear determination must be made by local authorities.
This will be the final product issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center for this event unless additional information becomes available.
Historic Earthquakes in the Region
- Samana, Dominican Republic, August 04, 1946 at 17:51 UTC, Magnitude 8.0
- Aftershock, August 08, 1946 at 13:28 UTC, Magnitude 7.6
The mainshock struck about 370 km ESE of a M8.0 quake which struck about 65 km off the northeast coast of the Dominican Republic in 1946. The large earthquake was followed by a major M7.6 aftershock.
The mainshock occurred about 65 km off the northeast coast of the Dominican Republic, causing severe damage in northern Dominican Republic from Samana to Santiago and Puerto Plata. The quake left about 100 people dead and more than 20,000 people homeless.
“Almost all the people killed were drowned by a tsunami at Matanzas, near Nagua (Julia Molina). Although the waves were only about 2.5 m (8 ft) high at this location, they moved inland several km, causing such severe damage that the town was abandoned. Maximum wave heights were estimated at 4-5 m (13-16 ft) at Nagua. A small tsunami was recorded by tide gauges at San Juan, Puerto Rico; Bermuda; Daytona Beach, Florida and Atlantic City, New Jersey.” USGS said.
The 7.6 M aftershock, which occurred 4 days after the mainshock, generated a small tsunami and caused additional damage.