Haiti Earthquake 2010
A 7.0 magnitude earthquake
12th January 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 north 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 it is released as an earthquake.
The epicenter of the earthquake was 16km south west of Port-Au-Prince. The earthquake was caused by a slip along an existing fault in this area (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 had been identified as dead, an estimated 300,000 injured, and an estimated 1,000,000 homeless. The death toll is expected to rise.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 a number of reasons for this:
The BBC news web site has a comprehensive overview of the earthquake here. The BBC have produced an excellent article titled Why did so many people die in the Haiti earthquake? and provides comparative data with similar size earthquakes.
Use the images below to explore related GeoTopics.