Earthquake Vs Earthquake

1404 Words 6 Pages
Earthquakes represent one of the most destructive forces of nature on planet Earth. Earthquakes result when built up tectonic stress and energy in the fault lines of continental and oceanic plates abruptly release. This sudden release of energy generates the seismic energy that causes the violent shaking in the ground. The two earthquakes that occurred in Haiti and Chile in 2010 remind us how destructive they can be. The earthquake that struck Haiti in January of 2010 was a magnitude 7.0 and resulted in the deaths of an estimated 230,000 people and resulted in damages between $7-10 billion (Cavallo 2010). The earthquake that struck Chile a month later in February was of a magnitude 8.8, and resulted in the deaths of 525 people and resulted …show more content…
The 2010 Haitian earthquake was a 7.0 shallow focus earthquake that occurred along a transform fault boundary known as the Enrique-Plantillo Garden fault system (Nature 2010). The focus of the earthquake was extremely shallow, located at depths of 13 km. As a result, the shaking during the Haitian earthquake was significantly more violent compared to the Chilean earthquake. The transform fault separated the Caribbean and North American plates sliding past each other horizontally that resulted in a clear horizontal movement of the ground. However, the quake also demonstrated an upward vertical motion, a feature not exhibited by strike slip fault boundaries such as the Enrique-Plantillo. Moreover, the absence of a surface rupture means that tectonic elastic energy is still stored in the parts of the fault. The buildup of energy will eventually be released, possibly abruptly, adding to the hazards of a future earthquake. This resulted in the discovery of a new fault line known as the Leogane fault, named after the city where the epicenter occurred. The Leogane fault was responsible for more than 85% of the earthquake’s energy (Time 2010).). Consequently, this leaves Haiti with the reality that the much larger Enrique fault line hardly discharged any of its built-up energy. The earthquake’s epicenter was located 16 miles southwest from the nation’s capital Port-Au Prince. Per The Institut Haitien de Statistique et d’Informatique, Port-Au Prince had an estimated population of 897,895 in 2009 with a population density of 64,548 people per sq mi. In comparison, New York City’s population density is 26,517 per sq. mi. (CNLWorld). Haiti is a small island nation with a history of large earthquakes, poor economic conditions, and high population density. Moreover, these three factors combined with high rates of corruption within the government

Related Documents