This is the ten year commemoration of the 2010 magnitude 7 earthquake in Haiti that caused widespread damage and casualties, triggered thousands of landslides, caused tsunami, triggered a turbidity current, and caused thousands to be internally displaced.
Here I review some of the earthquake related materials from this temblor.
The M 7 earthquake happened on a strike-slip fault system that accommodates relative plate motion between the North America and Caribbean plates. There is a history and prehistory of earthquakes on this fault system.
This event was quite deadly. Here is a comparison of this earthquake relative to other earthquakes (Billham, 2010).
Deaths from earthquakes since 1900. The toll of the Haiti quake is more than twice that of any previous magnitude-7.0 event, and the fourth worst since 1900.
Below is my interpretive poster for this earthquake
- I plot the seismicity from the past month, with color representing depth and diameter representing magnitude (see legend). I include earthquake epicenters from 1920-2020 with magnitudes M ≥ 6.0.
- I plot the USGS fault plane solutions (moment tensors in blue and focal mechanisms in orange), possibly in addition to some relevant historic earthquakes.
- A review of the basic base map variations and data that I use for the interpretive posters can be found on the Earthquake Reports page.
- Some basic fundamentals of earthquake geology and plate tectonics can be found on the Earthquake Plate Tectonic Fundamentals page.
- In the lower right corner is an inset map showing the major plate boundary faults from the Global Earthquake Model (GEM). The M 7.0 is shown as a yellow circle (as the same for the other insets).
- In the upper left corner is a tectonic overview figure from Symithe et al. (2015) showing earthquakes colored relative to depth.
- To the right of the Symithe et al. (2015) map is a plot showing horizontal motion based on GPS sites. The north-south profile (A-A’ in green) shows how horizontal GPS motions change as the profile crosses the two main faults. Because of these offsets, we can infer these faults are seismogenically locked and storing tectonic strain. The Enriquillo fault is accumulating about 8 mm/year of strain and the Septentrional fault is accumulating about 8 mm/year of tectonic strain. In general, if these faults rupture every 100 years, they might slip 80 mm. This is a rough approximation and there are lots of complications for such an estimate. But what is true, these faults cannot slip more than they can accumulate over time due to plate motions.
- In the upper right corner is a map that shows the tectonic strain (deformation of the crust) due to earthquakes and interseismic ground motion (Kreemer et al., 2014).
- To the left of the strain map are two figures from Frankel et al. (2011) that show the chance of shaking of a certain magnitude (percent gravity, or “g”) for a 50 year period (the life of a building).
- In the lower center are 2 figures from Hayes et al. (2010) that show the USGS fault slip models.
- Here is a great tectonic overview for the entire Caribbean region from Symithe et al. (2015).
Seismotectonic setting of the Caribbean region. Black lines show the major active plate boundary faults. Colored circles are precisely relocated seismicity [1960–2008, Engdahl et al., 1998] color coded as a function of depth. Earthquake focal mechanism are from the Global CMT Catalog (1976–2014) [Ekstrom et al., 2012], thrust focal mechanisms are shown in blue, others in red. H = Haiti, DR = Dominican Republic, MCS = mid-Cayman spreading center, WP = Windward Passage, EPGF = Enriquillo Plaintain Garden fault.
- These figures show the chance of the region will experience ground shaking over a period of 50 years (the life of a building) from Frankel et al. (2011). These maps are based on a model that uses the seismic velocity of materials in the upper 30 meters using the topographic slope as a proxy for Earth materials. Some consider this a better estimate of shaking likelihood compared to models that consider a fixed parameter for Earth materials (e.g. bedrock of a specific range in seismic velocities).
- This is an excellent tectonic overview figure from Calais et al. (2010). The upper panel shows the main tectonic faults and historic seismicity. The lower panel shows the location of some of the known historic earthquake slip patches (where the faults slipped during the earthquakes).
- Here is a more localized view of the tectonics of Hispaniola (Fleur et al., 2015). Because the relative motion between the North America and Caribbean plates (and all the other complicated blocks, fault orientations, etc.) is oblique to the plate boundary, there are both strike-slip and thrust faults (the result of strain partitioning).
- This shows a fantastic visualization of the tectonics of southern Hispaniola (Fleur et al., 2015). Most of the faults are thrust faults and the Equillon fault system bisects them.
- These figures show the tectonic geomorphology of the area near Port-au-Prince (Fleur et al., 2015).
- Here are some maps and photos of field evidence for active faulting in the area (Fleur et al., 2015).
- This figure shows the interseismic (between earthquakes) GPS plate motion vectors (Calais et al., 2011). Each red arrow represents the direction and velocity (speed) that a GPS site is moving over the past decade or two.
- The panel on the right shows a north-south transect of velocities relative to strike-slip (blue) and thrust (red) motion. There is clear evidence for decadal scale (“active”) strike-slip tectonic strain (deformation) across both Enriquillo and Septentrional faults. There is also compressional deformation across these fault zones, though much more compression across the Enriquillo fault (there is considerable noise in the compressional plot).
- Here is an updated geodetic figure from Symithe and Calais (2016) showing strike-slip and thrust strain.
- Here is their interpretation about how this interseismic motion relates to the geologic structures (Symithe and Calais, 2016)..
- This figure shows the coseismic displacements in the region (Calais et al., 2010). The map shows horizontal motion. The plot on the right shows these displacements in 3 directions (north-south in black; east-west in blue; up-down in red)
- This figure shows the earthquake surface deformation as measured using satellite data (interferrometric RADAR). The figure also shows a slip model showing the relative amount of slip. Finally, a cross section showing the orientation of the fault that slipped. This is also from Calais et al. (2010).
- Here is a figure showing the aftershocks for the Haiti Earthquake sequence (Douilly et al., 2013). They sampled the seismicity in various transects (A, B, C, D, E, and F) and plotted these seismicity in cross sections below the map. These authors use these plots to evaluate hypothetical fault models.
- When an earthquake fault slips, the crust surrounding the fault squishes and expands, deforming elastically (like in one’s underwear). These changes in shape of the crust cause earthquake fault stresses to change. These changes in stress can either increase or decrease the chance of another earthquake.
- I wrote more about this type of earthquake triggering for Temblor here. Head over there to learn more about “static coulomb stress triggering.”
- Lin et al. (2010) conducted this type of analysis for the 2010 M 7.0 Haiti Earthquake. They found that some of the faults in the region experienced an increase in fault stress (the red areas on the figure below). These changes in stress are very small, so require a fault to be at the “tipping point” for these changes in stress to cause an earthquake.
- There has not yet been a triggered earthquake in this region. However, we don’t know much about how long these stress changes really can affect an earthquake fault (it is thought to last only a few years at most, but some suggest it may last centuries).
- This first figure from Lin et al. (2010) shows the changes in stress on some nearby faults.
- This second figure from Lin et al. (2010) shows the regional changes in stress.
- This figure shows a slip model for the earthquake (compared with coastal uplift observations) and the results of a static coulomb stress modeling.
- In the upper panel, color represents the amount the fault slipped in centimeters.
- In the lower panel, red areas are areas that experienced an increase in stress on a fault and blue areas experienced a stress decrease. The left map shows these stress changes imparted on south vergent (north dipping) thrust faults. The panel on the right shows north vergent (south dipping) receiver thrust faults.
- Here is another static coulomb stress transfer model from Symithe et al. (2013). The difference between the upper and lower panels reflects the different fault friction parameter used in these two models.
- Here is a summary figure from USAID that shows the humanitarian impact from the earthquake and other related factors. The gray arrows show the location and quantity of internally displaced persons (people who moved within Haiti following the earthquake).
- Here is a figure that is the result of some analyses of the rate at which people displaced themselves internally (Lu et al., 2012).
- Here is a figure that shows a more detailed comparison between the modeled intensity and the reported intensity. Both data use the same color scale, the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale (MMI). More about this can be found here. The colors and contours on the map are results from the USGS modeled intensity. The DYFI data are plotted as colored dots (color = MMI, diameter = number of reports).
- In the upper right corner is a plot showing MMI intensity (vertical axis) relative to distance from the earthquake (horizontal axis). The models are represented by the green and orange lines. The DYFI data are plotted as light blue dots.
- Here is a map that I put together using the GIS data available from Harp et al. (2016).
- Here is a map from Gorum et al. (2023) that also shows the landslide distribution across the landscape.
- This shows a large scale comparison of landslides with different temporal origins (Gorum et al., 2013).
- These authors considered topographic relief as a control for landslide triggering.
- Here these authors compare uplift and subsidence measured from satellites (Gorum et al., 2013).
- Here is the conclusion figure from Gorum et al. (2013) that shows some of the controlling factors for earthquake triggered landslides.
- This is a take away figure putting the Haiti earthquake triggered landslides in context with other earthquakes.
- Cecilia McHugh used NSF rapid response funding to collect geophysical (e.g. bathymetry, subsurface seismic profiles) and sedimentary core data in the epicentral region of the M 7.0 Haiti Earthquake. McHugh et al. (2011) discovered that the earthquake triggered turbidity currents (submarine landslides) that (A) caused suspended sediment to be found in the water column after the earthquake and (B) led to the deposition of a turbidite.
- McHugh et al. (2011) found evidence for prior earthquake triggered turbidites in the form of sedimentary deposits. These deposits were found in sedimentary cores and in subsurface imaging (seismic reflection data).
- Here is a sediment core that includes the 2010 seismoturbidite, as well as several previous likely seismoturbidites.
- Here is a seismic reflection profile from McHugh et al. (2011). The dark layers are muddy layers between the turbidites. The plot on the right shows evidence for the suspended sediment.
- Here is a plot from Fritz et al. (2012) that shows field observations from the tsunami.
- 2016.01.17 1900-2016 Summary northern Caribbean
- 2016.01.17 M 5.1 pair Cuba
- 2010.01.12 M 7.0 Haiti
- Frisch, W., Meschede, M., Blakey, R., 2011. Plate Tectonics, Springer-Verlag, London, 213 pp.
- Hayes, G., 2018, Slab2 – A Comprehensive Subduction Zone Geometry Model: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7PV6JNV.
- Holt, W. E., C. Kreemer, A. J. Haines, L. Estey, C. Meertens, G. Blewitt, and D. Lavallee (2005), Project helps constrain continental dynamics and seismic hazards, Eos Trans. AGU, 86(41), 383–387, , https://doi.org/10.1029/2005EO410002. /li>
- Jessee, M.A.N., Hamburger, M. W., Allstadt, K., Wald, D. J., Robeson, S. M., Tanyas, H., et al. (2018). A global empirical model for near-real-time assessment of seismically induced landslides. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 123, 1835–1859. https://doi.org/10.1029/2017JF004494
- Kreemer, C., J. Haines, W. Holt, G. Blewitt, and D. Lavallee (2000), On the determination of a global strain rate model, Geophys. J. Int., 52(10), 765–770.
- Kreemer, C., W. E. Holt, and A. J. Haines (2003), An integrated global model of present-day plate motions and plate boundary deformation, Geophys. J. Int., 154(1), 8–34, , https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-246X.2003.01917.x.
- Kreemer, C., G. Blewitt, E.C. Klein, 2014. A geodetic plate motion and Global Strain Rate Model in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, v. 15, p. 3849-3889, https://doi.org/10.1002/2014GC005407.
- Meyer, B., Saltus, R., Chulliat, a., 2017. EMAG2: Earth Magnetic Anomaly Grid (2-arc-minute resolution) Version 3. National Centers for Environmental Information, NOAA. Model. https://doi.org/10.7289/V5H70CVX
- Müller, R.D., Sdrolias, M., Gaina, C. and Roest, W.R., 2008, Age spreading rates and spreading asymmetry of the world’s ocean crust in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 9, Q04006, https://doi.org/10.1029/2007GC001743
- Pagani,M. , J. Garcia-Pelaez, R. Gee, K. Johnson, V. Poggi, R. Styron, G. Weatherill, M. Simionato, D. Viganò, L. Danciu, D. Monelli (2018). Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Seismic Hazard Map (version 2018.1 – December 2018), DOI: 10.13117/GEM-GLOBAL-SEISMIC-HAZARD-MAP-2018.1
- Silva, V ., D Amo-Oduro, A Calderon, J Dabbeek, V Despotaki, L Martins, A Rao, M Simionato, D Viganò, C Yepes, A Acevedo, N Horspool, H Crowley, K Jaiswal, M Journeay, M Pittore, 2018. Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Seismic Risk Map (version 2018.1). https://doi.org/10.13117/GEM-GLOBAL-SEISMIC-RISK-MAP-2018.1
- Zhu, J., Baise, L. G., Thompson, E. M., 2017, An Updated Geospatial Liquefaction Model for Global Application, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 107, p 1365-1385, https://doi.org/0.1785/0120160198
- Billham, R., 2010. Lessons from the Haiti Earthquake in Nature, v. 463, doi:10.1038/463878a
- Calais, E., Mazabraud, Y., de Lepinay, B.M., Mann, P., Mattioli, G., and Jansma, P., 2002. Strain partitioning and fault slip rates in the northeastern Caribbean from GPS measurements in GRL, v. 29, no. 18, doi:10.1029/2002GL015397
- Calais, E., Freed, A., Mattioli, G., Amerlung, F., Jonsson, S., Jansma, P., Hong, S-H., Dixon, T., Prepetit, C., and Momplaisir, R., 2010. Transpressional rupture of an unmapped fault
during the 2010 Haiti earthquake in Nature Geoscience, http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/ngeo992
- Douilly, R., Haase, J.S., Ellsworth, W.L., Bouin, M-P., Calais, E., Symithe, S.J., Aerbruster, J.G., de Lepinay, B.M., Deschamps, A., Mildor, S-L., Meremonte, M.E., and Hough, S.E., 2013. Crustal Structure and Fault Geometry of the 2010 Haiti Earthquake from Temporary Seismometer Deployments in BSSA, v. 103, no. 4, p. 2305-2325, doi: 10.1785/0120120303
- Douilly, R., H. Aochi, E. Calais, and A. M. Freed, 2015. Three-dimensional dynamic rupture simulations across interacting faults: The Mw7.0, 2010, Haiti earthquake, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth, 120, 1108–1128, doi:10.1002/2014JB011595.
- Frankel, A., Harmsen, S., Mueller, C., Calais, E., and Haase, J., 2011. Seismic Hazard Maps for Haiti in Earthquake Spectra, v. 27, no. 1, p. S23-S41
- Fritz, H.M., Hillaire, J.V., Moliere, E., Wei, Y., and Mohammed, F., 2012. Twin Tsunamis Triggered by the 12 January 2010 Haiti Earthquake in Pure and Applied Geophysics, doi:10.1007/s00024-012-0479-3
- Gorum, T., van Westen, C.J., Korup, O., van der Meijde, M., Fan, X., and van der Meer, F.D., 2013. Complex rupture mechanism and topography control symmetry of mass-wasting pattern, 2010 Haiti earthquake in Geomorphology, v. 184, p. 127-138, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2012.11.027
- Harp, E.L., Jibson, R.W., and Schmitt, R.G., 2016, Map of landslides triggered by the January 12, 2010, Haiti earthquake: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3353, 15 p., 1 sheet, scale 1:150,000, http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/sim3353.
- Lin, Jian, Stein, Ross S., Sevilgen, Volkan, and Toda, Shinji, 2010. USGS-WHOI-DPRI Coulomb stress-transfer model for the January 12, 2010, MW=7.0 Haiti earthquake: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2010-1019, 7 p. http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2010/1019/.
- Liu, J. Y., H. Le, Y. I. Chen, C. H. Chen, L. Liu, W. Wan, Y. Z. Su, Y. Y. Sun, C. H. Lin, and M. Q. Chen, 2011. Observations and simulations of seismoionospheric GPS total electron content anomalies before the 12 January 2010 M7 Haiti earthquake, J. Geophys. Res., 116, A04302, doi:10.1029/2010JA015704.
- Lu, X., Bengtsson, L., and olme, P., 2012. Predictability of population displacement after the 2010 Haiti earthquake in PNAS, v. 109, no. 29, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1203882109
- McHugh, C.M., Seeber, L., Braudy, N., Cormier, M-H., Davis, M.B., Diebold, J.B., Dieudonne, N., Douilly, R., R., Guilick, S.P.S., Hornbach, M.J., Johnson III,, H.E., Mishkin, K.R., Sorlien, C.C., Steckler, M.S., Symithe, S.J., and Templeton, J., 2011. Offshore sedimentary effects of the 12 January 2010 Haiti earthquake in Geology, v. 39, no. 8, p. 723-726, doi:10.1130/G31815.1
- Saint Fleur, N., N. Feuillet, R. Grandin, E. Jacques, J. Weil-Accardo, and Y. Klinger, 2015. Seismotectonics of southern Haiti: A new faulting model for the 12 January 2010M7.0 earthquake, Geophys. Res. Lett., 42, 10,273–10,281, doi:10.1002/2015GL065505.
- Symithe, S., E. Calais, Haase, J.S., Freed, A.M., and Douilly, R., 2013. Coseismic Slip Distribution of the 2010 M 7.0 Haiti Earthquake and Resulting Stress Changes on Regional Faults in BSSA, v. 103, np. 4, p. 2326-2343, doi: 10.1785/0120120306
- Symithe, S., E. Calais, J. B. de Chabalier, R. Robertson, and M. Higgins, 2015. Current block motions and strain accumulation on active faults in the Caribbean, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth, 120, 3748–3774, doi:10.1002/2014JB011779.
- Symithe, S. and E. Calais, 2016. Present-day Shortening in Southern Haiti from GPS measurements and implications for seismic hazard in Tectonophysics, v. 689, p. 117-124, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tecto.2016.04.034
Hazard maps using grid of VS30 values shown in Figure 7: (top) PGA (%g) with 10% probability of exceedance, (bottom) PGA (%g) with 2% probability of exceedance in 50 years.
Tectonic setting of the northeastern Caribbean and Hispaniola. a, Major active plate-boundary faults (black lines), instrumental seismicity (National Earthquake Information Center database, 1974–present) and Caribbean–North America relative motion (arrow). P.R. Puerto Rico; D.R. Dominican Republic. b, Summary of the present-day tectonic setting of Hispaniola. Estimated historical rupture areas are derived from archives. 1860, 1953 and 1701 are the dates of smaller magnitude, poorly located events. Vertical strike-slip events are shown as lines; dip-slip events are shown as projected surface areas. The red arrows show geodetically inferred long-term slip rates (labelled in mmyr-1) of active faults in the region from the block model discussed here (the arrows show motion of the southern with respect to the northern block).
Tectonic setting and active faulting in Haiti. (a) Major anticlines (lines with arrows, dashed white: growing and grey: older), active thrusts (black), and strike-slip faults (EPGF and SF: in red) from this study [Mann et al., 1995; Pubellier et al., 2000; Mauffret and Leroy, 1997; Granja Bruña et al., 2014]. Blue (1): rigid Beata oceanic crust block. Dark purples: toleitic complex oceanic crust outcrops. Orange: Cul-de-Sac and Enriquillo (CSE) ramp basins; brown (2): Hispaniola volcanic arc. Black crosses: metamorphic Cretaceous basement; yellow: rigid Bahamas bank. Haiti FTB: Haiti fold and thrust belt. Grey line: trench. Double black arrows: regional compression deduced from mean orientations of folds and thrusts. (b) Active faulting in southern Haiti. Topography and bathymetry (contours each 200 m) from Global Multi-Resolution Topography (GMRT) synthesis (http://www.geomapapp.org). Faults, folds, and symbols as in Figure 1a. Simple red and black arrows: strike-slip motion. In orange: push-down troughs of Port-au-Prince Bay and Azuei and Enriquillo Lakes in the CSE ramp basin. Inset (bottom left): fault geometry and kinematics. Grey ellipse: zone with en echelon troughs in N100°E direction. Inset (top right): simplified strain ellipse in southern Haiti.
(a) Active faulting and seismicity in the southeastern part of Haiti. Topography and bathymetry (contours each 100 m), from Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection (http://asterweb.jpl.nasa.gov/) and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission 30+ (http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/srtm/), respectively, and the 1:25000 bathymetric chart of the Hydrographic and Oceanographic Department of the French Navy (contours at 2, 5, 10, 20, 30, 50, 100, and 130m) in the Port-au-Prince Bay. Faults, folds, and symbols as in Figure 1. Red star: 2010 main shock epicenter from Mercier de Lépinay et al.  with the centroid moment tensor from Harvard University (http://www.globalcmt.org); seismicity from Douilly et al. , and focal mechanisms from Nettles and Hjörleifsdóttir . Location of Figure 3a is indicated. PAP, Port-au-Prince. Folds in CSE ramp basin with locations of Figures 4a and 4b are indicated: PaPT: Port-au-Prince thrust; DT: Dumay thrust; NaC: Nan Cadastre thrust (see Figure 4b); Jac: Jacquet thrust; Gan: Ganthier thrust (see figure 4a). Red and white star near DT: location of Figure 4d. (b) NNE-SSW geological cross section across the Cul-de-Sac-Enriquillo plain. Geology from www.bme.gouv.ht and Mann et al. [1991b] (supporting information Figure S5) with colors of units as in Figure 2c. Profile location shown in Figure 2a; topography as in Figure 1. No vertical exaggeration. (c) Three-dimensional block diagram showing the geology, the aftershocks [from Douilly et al., 2013], and the fault system along a N-S cross section (location in Figure 2a). The block highlighted in red is uplifting in between the LT and the EPGF.
(a) Active faulting in the 2010 earthquake epicentral area. Active faults, symbols, topography, and bathymetry as in Figure 2a. Location of Figure 3b is indicated. SSW-NNE topographic profiles are shown in the inset. ΔR: fault throw at the seafloor. Vertical exaggeration (VE): 20X; α: slope of the Léogâne delta fan. (b) The Lamentin thrust in Carrefour. Topography from lidar data (contours at 5m vertical interval). Rivers in blue, with thicker traces for larger ones. Inset in the lower left corner: topographic profile BB′ along of the Lamentin fold crest (VE: 5X). Inset in the upper right corner: topographic profile AA′ perpendicular to the Lamentin thrust system (VE: 2.5X) and the most plausible geometry of the thrusts (with no vertical exaggeration). In yellow: upper Miocene limestone; in grey: Quaternary conglomerates. MT:main thrust. The width of the fold and the slope of the fan surface constrain the rooting depth of the emergent ramp to the décollement [e.g.,Meyer et al., 1998].
Active folding in the Cul-de-Sac-Enriquillo ramp basin. (a) Aerial photograph of the 8 km long Ganthier Quaternary fold. (b) Lidar topography of the Nan Cadastre Quaternary thrust folding. Inset: topographic profile AA′ and possible interpretation at depth. (c) Field photograph along the eastern flank of the Bois Galette River (location in Figure 4a) showing the folded alluvial sediments of the Ganthier fold dipping ~30°N. (d) Field photograph and interpretation of the 50 ± 15° southward dipping Dumay thrusts (in red) exposed in cross section on the eastern bank of the Rivière Grise (location in Figure 2a). The fault offsets by several tens of centimeters Quaternary sediments (lacustrine and conglomerates) incised by the river.
Interseismic GPS velocities. The GPS velocity field is determined from GPS campaigns before the 12 January 2010 earthquake. The ellipses and error bars are 95% confidence. a, Velocities with respect to the North American plate. b, Velocities with respect to the Caribbean plate. c, Velocity profile perpendicular to the plate boundary (coloured circles and one-sigma error bars) and best-fit elastic block model (solid lines). Blue D profile-perpendicular (‘strike-slip’) velocity components; orange D profile-parallel (‘shortening’) velocity components. The profile trace and width are indicated by dashed lines in a and b.
GPS velocities shown with respect to the North American plate (A) and to the Caribbean plate (B). Error ellipses are 95% confidence. (C) North–south profile including GPS sites shown with the dashed box shown on panels A and B. Velocities are projected onto directions parallel (blue) and normal (red) to the EPGF direction. MS = Massif de la Selle, CdS = Cul-de-Sac basin, MN= Matheux-Neiba range, PC= Plateau Central, PN= Plaine du Nord, EF= Enriquillo fault, SF= Septentrional fault.
Top and middle: comparison between the best-fit model (solid lines) and GPS observations for the strike-slip (blue) and shortening (red) components for the one– fault model, i.e. with oblique slip on the south-dipping fault. Bottom: interpretative geological cross-section using information from Saint Fleur et al. (2015). The red line indicates the model fault with its locked portion shown as solid. The surface trace of the fault in the best-fit model coincides with the northern limb of the Ganthier fold, indicated by the letter G. The gradient of GPS velocities coincides with the southern edge of the Cul-de-Sac basin, while the Matheux range appears devoid from present-day strain accumulation. D = Dumay locale where Terrier et al. (2014) report reverse faulting affecting Quaternary sediments. G = Ganthier fold (Mann et al., 1995).
Coseismic displacements from GPS measurements. a, Map of horizontal coseismic displacements. Note the significant component of shortening, similar to the interseismic velocity field (Fig. 2). The orange arrows have been shortened by 50% to fit within the map. Displacements at stations TROU and DFRT, cited in the text, are labelled. NR Can Natural
Resources Canada. b, Position time series at station DFRT (orange arrow labelled on a) showing four pre-earthquake measurement epochs and the post-earthquake epoch. Note the steady interseismic strain accumulation rate and the sudden coseismic displacement.
Deformation observations and rupture model. a, Interferogram (descending track, constructed from images acquired on 9 March 2009 and 25 January 2010), GPS observed (black) and model (red) coseismic displacements. The yellow circles show aftershocks. G D Greissier, L D Léogâne, PaP D Port-au-Prince. EF D Enriquillo–Plantain Garden fault. The black rectangle shows the surface projection of the modelled rupture; the black–white dashed line is the intersection with the surface. LOS displ:D line-of-sight displacement. b, Total slip distribution from a joint inversion of InSAR and GPS data, viewed from the northwest. c, Interpretative cross-section between points A and B indicated on a. The red line shows coseismic rupture.
Cross sections perpendicular to the Enriquillo fault illustrating possible fault structures. Hypocenters within the rectangular boxes are included in the corresponding cross section. The open triangles in the cross sections indicate the surface trace of the Enriquillo fault. The red line shows the main earthquake rupture on the Léogâne fault; blue lines show the Trois Baies thrust fault; green lines show south-dipping antithetic structures delineated by aftershocks possibly triggered by Coulomb stress changes following the mainshock. The black lines in the cross sections show the hypothesized location of the Enriquillo fault, which is believed to dip from 65° north (Prentice et al., 2010) to vertical.
Earthquake Stress Triggering
Coulomb stress changes imparted by the January 12, 2010, Mw=7.0 rupture resolved on surrounding faults inferred from Mann and others (2002). Thrust faults dip 45°.
Coulomb stress changes imparted by the January 12, 2010, Mw=7.0 rupture to the Septentrional Fault, assuming a friction of 0.4 (a friction of 0.0 yields a similar result, with the peak stress shifted 25 km to the west). Stress changes are positive but very small. The two 1/26/10 aftershocks are the only events thus far to locate well off the source model; if they are left-lateral events on roughly E-W planes, then they would have been promoted by stress imparted by the January 12 mainshock rupture.
Newstatic slipmodel for the 2010 Haiti earthquake and induced Coulomb stress changes. (a) Axonometric view from SE showing the slip distribution on two faults (EPGF and LT) determined by modeling geodetic data (GPS and interferometry) and coastal uplift values recorded by coral (see supporting information). Arrows (white for EPGF and black for LT) indicate the motion of the hanging wall with respect to the footwall. Land surfaces in grey. Red lines: active faults. Blue bars: coastal uplift measured by using corals from Hayes et al. . Red bars: uplift predicted by our model. Focal mechanisms indicated the EPGF (dark yellow) and Lamentin fault (green) geometry. (b) Coulomb stress changes induced by the slip model we determined, in map view at 7.5 km depth. Black rectangles: modeled faults. Epicentral locations of aftershocks from Douilly et al. . Insets in the upper left corners: parameters of the receiver faults used for the Coulomb stress calculation. Calculated for receiver faults having the same geometry as the strike-slip EPGF (dark yellow lines) and as the Lamentin thrust (dark green lines), respectively (Figure 5b, left and right).
Calculated coseismic Coulomb stress change on the regional faults of southern Haiti based on coseismic slip associated with our preferred model (Fig. 5c) and two assumptions of apparent friction. The Enriquillo fault is assumed to dip 65° to the south with a rake of 20°. The Trois Baies fault is assumed to dip 55° to the north with a rake of 70°. All other faults are assumed to dip at 60° and a rake of 90° (pure
thrust). Major cities are noted by green circles.
Earthquake Humanitarian Impact
Overview of population movements. (A) Shows the geography of Haiti, with distances from PaP marked. The epicenter of the earthquake is marked by a cross. (B) Gives the proportion of individuals who traveled more than d km between day t − 1 and t. Distances are calculated by comparing the person’s current location with his or her latest observed location. In (C), we graph the change in the number of individuals in the various provinces in Haiti. (D) Gives a cumulative probability distribution of the daily travel distances d for people in PaP at the time of the earthquake. (E) Shows the cumulative probability distribution of d for people outside PaP at the time of the earthquake. Finally, (F) gives the exponent α of the power-law dependence of d—the probability of d is proportional to d−α. These are obtained by a maximum-likelihood method (33), and differ from the slopes of the lines in (D) and (E) by unity since these are the cumulative distributions.
Earthquake Shaking Intensity
Earthquake Triggered Landslides
There are many different ways in which a landslide can be triggered. The first order relations behind slope failure (landslides) is that the “resisting” forces that are preventing slope failure (e.g. the strength of the bedrock or soil) are overcome by the “driving” forces that are pushing this land downwards (e.g. gravity). The ratio of resisting forces to driving forces is called the Factor of Safety (FOS). We can write this ratio like this:
FOS = Resisting Force / Driving Force
Landslide ground shaking can change the Factor of Safety in several ways that might increase the driving force or decrease the resisting force. Keefer (1984) studied a global data set of earthquake triggered landslides and found that larger earthquakes trigger larger and more numerous landslides across a larger area than do smaller earthquakes. Earthquakes can cause landslides because the seismic waves can cause the driving force to increase (the earthquake motions can “push” the land downwards), leading to a landslide. In addition, ground shaking can change the strength of these earth materials (a form of resisting force) with a process called liquefaction.
Sediment or soil strength is based upon the ability for sediment particles to push against each other without moving. This is a combination of friction and the forces exerted between these particles. This is loosely what we call the “angle of internal friction.” Liquefaction is a process by which pore pressure increases cause water to push out against the sediment particles so that they are no longer touching.
An analogy that some may be familiar with relates to a visit to the beach. When one is walking on the wet sand near the shoreline, the sand may hold the weight of our body generally pretty well. However, if we stop and vibrate our feet back and forth, this causes pore pressure to increase and we sink into the sand as the sand liquefies. Or, at least our feet sink into the sand.
Below is a diagram showing how an increase in pore pressure can push against the sediment particles so that they are not touching any more. This allows the particles to move around and this is why our feet sink in the sand in the analogy above. This is also what changes the strength of earth materials such that a landslide can be triggered.
Below is a diagram based upon a publication designed to educate the public about landslides and the processes that trigger them (USGS, 2004). Additional background information about landslide types can be found in Highland et al. (2008). There was a variety of landslide types that can be observed surrounding the earthquake region. So, this illustration can help people when they observing the landscape response to the earthquake whether they are using aerial imagery, photos in newspaper or website articles, or videos on social media. Will you be able to locate a landslide scarp or the toe of a landslide? This figure shows a rotational landslide, one where the land rotates along a curvilinear failure surface.
Tectonic setting and landslide distribution map of the study area. (a) Area surrounding the Mw 7.0 January 2010 Haiti earthquake epicenter; beach ball shows focal mechanism (earthquake.usgs.gov). (b) Tectonic setting of the Caribbean plate boundaries. Red star and the points are locations of main shock and major aftershock distributions, respectively. (c) Topographic setting and mean local relief (white circles with±1σ whiskers) of pre- and post-earthquake landslides: alluvial plains and fans (APF), coastal cliff (CSC), deeply incised valley (DIV), dissected hilly and mountainous terrain (HDHM), round crested slopes and hills (RLH), moderately steep slopes (MR), plateau escarpments (PE), and steep faulted hills (SFH).
Distribution of (a) coseismic and (b) aseismic landslides along a reach of the Momance River, Haiti; black star is location of 2010 earthquake epicenter; white arrow is flow direction. Old landslides may likely be of prehistoric origin.
Regional distribution of co- and aseismic landslides, and re-activated slope failures. (a) Normalized spatial density of pre-earthquake aseismic landslides within 1-km radius (see text). (b) Spatial density of coseismic landslides. (c) Spatial density of re-activated landslides. (d and e) Fraction of area affected by (d) aseismic and (e) coseismic
landslides per 0.01° latitude; circles are individual landslide locations scaled by area (see legend in panel g). Thin black dashed lines are areas affected by the landslides; thick black dashed lines are mean local relief of coseismically uplifted and subsided areas. (f and g) Histograms of (f) point density [km−2] and (g) rate [%] of re-activated landslides for 0.01° latitude bins; PaP: Port-au-Prince; PG: Petit Goave.
Distribution of coseismic deformation, slip, and landslide density. (a) Vertical-deformation signal from InSAR (after Hayes et al., 2010); black circles are mapped coseismic landslides; the black star is the epicenter. (b) Normalized landslide density map (cf. Fig. 4). (c) Rupture model and coseismic slip amplitudes from inversion of InSAR data, field based off-set measurements, and broadband teleseismic body-waveform data (after Hayes et al., 2010). (d) Block diagram of the Léogâne thrust and Enriquillo–Plantain Garden Fault blind rupture. Normalized landslide density superimposed on data by Mercier de Lépinay et al. (2011). Inset block diagram shows proposed fault geometry by Hayes et al., (2010) for Haiti earthquake ruptures. Thick solid lines are surface projections of each fault; PaP: Port-au-Prince.
Along-strike (W–E) distribution of (a) mean coseismic deformation (Hayes et al., 2010), (b) coseismic and re-activated normalized landslide density, (c) mean local relief, and (d)mean hillslope gradient in the uplifted section.N–S distribution of (e) mean coseismic deformation (Hayes et al., 2010), (f) coseismic and re-activated landslide density, (g)mean local relief, and (h) mean hillslope gradient in both uplifted and subsided parts. Inset maps show locations of the swaths. Black lines (c, d, g and h) and shadings are means and±1 σ in 60-m bins. Light and dark grey boxes delimit peaks in normalized landslide density (b), and sub-sections of differing dominant fault geometries in (e). Dashed grey lines are regional means; scale differs between panels (b and f) in coseismic and re-activated landslide density.
Summary of coseismic landslide inventory data from documented reverse or thrust-fault earthquakes. Left panel shows extent of faulting recorded in historical (grey bars) and recent earthquakes (black bars; modified after McCalpin, 2009). Thick and thin black bars are lengths of surface and blind fault ruptures; estimates of surface rupture lengths (grey bars) and maximum coseismic uplift (light grey arrows) from Wells and Coppersmith (1994); lower limits from Bonilla (1988). Maximum coseismic uplift (MCU, dark grey arrows) and surface/blind ruptures: (1)Wenchuan, China, Mw 7.9 (Liu-Zeng et al., 2009); (2) Chi-Chi, Taiwan, Mw 7.6 (Chen et al., 2003); (3) Haiti Mw 7.0 (Hayes et al., 2010); (4) Iwate-Miyagi, Japan, Mw 6.9 (Ohta et al., 2008); (5) Northridge, USA, Mw 6.7 (Shen et al., 1996); and (6) Lorca, Spain, Mw 5.2 (Martinez-Diaz et al., 2012). Right panel shows hanging wall and foot-wall areas affected by coseismic landsliding, and box-and-whisker plots of local relief. Box delimits lower and upper quartiles and median; whiskers are 5th and 95th percentiles; open circles are outliers. Landslide inventory data from Gorum et al. (2011), Liao and Lee (2000), Yagi et al. (2009), Harp and Jibson (1995), and Alfaro et al. (2012); landslide lower limits are from Keefer (1984).
Earthquake Triggered Turbidity Currents
A: Bulk density, magnetic suscep- GC-2 tibility, 234Th (dpm/g), and photo of GC2 recovered from Canal du Sud at 1753 m. The 12 January turbidite contains 5-cm-thick basal bed of black sand and 50 cm of mud above, forming turbidite-homogenite unit. Bulk density decreases upward to nearly seawater values, and magnetic susceptibility signal is higher near base, corresponding to sand rich in magnetic minerals analyzed at 55, 113, and 143 cm (plag—plagioclase; qtz—quartz). Boxes delineate 12 January and older events.
A: Semitransparent lens on Chirp profile is 12 January earthquake-generated turbidite. B: CTD (conductivity, temperature, depth) transmissometer measurements of water column obtained at 1750 m. Anomaly in beam attenuation in lower 600 m is interpreted as sediment plume that has remained in suspension since 12 January.
Earthquake Triggered Tsunami
Tsunami flow depths and runup heights measured along coastlines in the Gulf of Gonaˆve and along Hispaniola’s south coast.
Basic & General References
Return to the Earthquake Reports page.