Haiti Earthquake 2010
A 7.0 magnitude earthquake.
Jan. 12 2010 at 16.53 local time (21.53 GMT).
The earthquake occurred 18.457°N, 72.533°W. The focus of the earthquake was 13km (8.1 miles) below the surface of the earth.
Haiti is situated to the northern end of the Caribbean Plate, on a transform (slip/conservative) plate boundary with the North American Plate. The North American plate is moving west. This movement is not smooth, and there is friction between the North American Plate and the Caribbean Plate. Pressure builds between the two plates until released as an earthquake.
The epicentre of the earthquake was 16km southwest of Port-Au-Prince. The earthquake was caused by a slip along an existing fault (Enriquillo-Plaintain Garden fault).
As of Feb. 12, an estimated three million people were affected by the quake; the Haitian Government reports that between 217,000 and 230,000 people died, an estimated 300,000 injured, and an estimated 1,000,000 homeless. They also estimated that 250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings had collapsed or were severely damaged.
So, why did so many people die in the Haiti earthquake? There are several reasons for this:
The BBC News website has a comprehensive overview of the earthquake here. In addition, the BBC has produced an excellent article titled Why so many people died in the Haiti earthquake? and provides comparative data with similar earthquakes.
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