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Gingersnap
01-14-2010, 10:49 AM
Haiti earthquake had been predicted for years

The earthquake in Haiti surprised South Floridians who didn't expect earthquakes in the Caribbean. But geologists had been sounding the alarm for some time.

By FRED TASKER
ftasker@MiamiHerald.com

When South Florida residents heard about Tuesday's catastrophic earthquake in Haiti, most of us probably said: ``What? They have earthquakes in the Caribbean?''

But it was no surprise to geologists. For years, they'd been predicting a quake in Haiti -- possibly as powerful as magnitude 7.2. The problem was they couldn't say when.

``It could have been the next day, it could have been 10 years, it could have been 100,'' said Miami geophysicist and earthquake expert Dr. Tim Dixon. ``This is not an exact science.''

Geologists had long warned about seismic pressures building up along the Enriquillo Fault Line that runs from Jamaica eastward through Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and into the Enriquillo Valley in the Dominican Republic. The fault line is part of the boundary between the North American and Caribbean tectonic plates.

CHILLING PREDICTION

The earth is divided into about a dozen tectonic plates that float and shift, moving past each other at geologically slow rates. The North American plate, which includes the United States and Canada, moves west relative to the Caribbean plate, at a rate of about an inch a year.

And there was a chilling, if imprecise, prediction in a paper by a group of U.S. geologists presented at the 18th Caribbean Geological Conference in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in March of 2008.

That inch-per-year movement had built up to six lateral feet of unrelieved pressure since the last major quake, in the south-central Dominican Republic in 1751. In a reference to Port-au-Prince, the conference report said: ``This means that the level of built-up stress and energy in the earth could one day be released resulting in an earthquake measuring 7.2 or more on the Richter Scale. This would be an event of catastrophic proportions in a city with loose building codes, and an abundance of shanty-towns built in ravines and other undesirable locations.''

Interesting but what could they have done, really? We've poured billions of dollars into retrofitting buildings for earthquake resistance and we enforce truly draconian building codes in quake-prone areas. They didn't have those kinds of resources.

Miami Herald (http://www.miamiherald.com/news/southflorida/story/1424157.html)

noonwitch
01-14-2010, 01:05 PM
I never really thought of that area as a quake zone.


Yet there is at least one volcano I can think of in the Caribbean. Wherever there are volcanos, there are earthquakes.

Rockntractor
01-14-2010, 01:29 PM
I never really thought of that area as a quake zone.


Yet there is at least one volcano I can think of in the Caribbean. Wherever there are volcanos, there are earthquakes.

I wonder if the volcanic activity formed the islands?

Sonnabend
01-16-2010, 07:57 AM
I never really thought of that area as a quake zone.

Large numbers of underwater fault lines. Dozens of them.

SarasotaRepub
01-16-2010, 10:43 AM
I've been in Puerto Rico and had a small one hit, I think it was a 2.something.

My aunt and uncle were in the Dominican Republic during a, I think it was
a 6.5 quake.

djones520
01-16-2010, 10:45 AM
I've been in Puerto Rico and had a small one hit, I think it was a 2.something.

My aunt and uncle were in the Dominican Republic during a, I think it was
a 6.5 quake.

We had a 6.6 just under us about a month before we left Misawa. Let me tell you, that is some scary shit. Especially when you live on the 7th floor.