Haiti’s 2010 earthquake likely brought the fault that ruptured in the Aug. 14, 2021 quake closer to failure. Some elements suggest a westward earthquake progression, but highly stressed sections of the fault system to the east remain.
By Ross Stein, Ph.D., Temblor, Inc., California (@rstein357), Shinji Toda, Ph.D., IRIDeS, Tohoku University, Japan, Jian Lin, Ph.D. Southern University of Science and Technology, China, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts, and Volkan Sevilgen, M.Sc., Temblor, Inc., California (@volkansevilgen)
Citation: Stein, R.S., Toda, S., Lin, J., Sevilgen, V., 2021, Are the 2021 and 2010 Haiti earthquakes part of a progressive sequence?, Temblor, http://doi.org/10.32858/temblor.197
On Jan. 12, 2010, a magnitude-7.0 earthquake struck Léogâne, Haiti, just outside the capital of Port-au-Prince. The quake killed some 300,000 people, according to the Haitian government, and displaced hundreds of thousands more people. Though the quake was initially thought to have struck on the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault, where the Caribbean Plate is separated from the Gonâve microplate, further investigation eventually indicated the quake occurred on a blind thrust fault now known as the Léogâne Fault. (Blind thrust faults are those that don’t reach Earth’s surface and result from compression.) On Aug. 14, 2021, a magnitude-7.2 quake struck along the same fault system, to the west of the epicenter of the 2010 quake. The death toll is already above 1,400 and thousands more are displaced. Those numbers are expected to rise, especially as a tropical storm barrels down on the island.