In a pre-earthquake photo, a GPS receiver and antenna sit atop a roof in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Click on image for full size
Image Courtesy of Purdue University/Eric Calais
Scientists Return to Haiti to Assess Possibility of Another Major Quake
News story originally written on January 25, 2010
A team of scientists from the United States was invited to visit Haiti in late January 2010 to look into the cause of the magnitude 7 earthquake that happened there. While there, the geologists will collect important data to assess whether the quake could trigger another major event to the east or west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital.
Eric Calais, a Purdue University geophysicist leading the team, said that most aftershocks occur within weeks of the initial quake and that the team urgently needs to get to the site to make a detailed assessment before crucial geological information disappears.
"The big question is instead of small aftershocks, could there be a bigger earthquake coming," Calais said. "There are many historical examples of an initial earthquake triggering an even larger one along the same or nearby faults. We are concerned for the Dominican Republic, as our preliminary models show that the continuation of the fault in this area is loaded." The Haitian government is interested in knowing what the scientists learn; they would like to use this information when they start rebuilding in Haiti.
This research team has been studying the faults in this area for five years using GPS markers that determine what is happening to faults underground. In their upcoming research they will find and map the area of the fault that ruptured, resurvey the existing GPS markers, and install 10 new continuous GPS sites to monitor the changes that will occur in the years to come as Earth's crust readjusts.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Learn about Earth and space science, and have fun while doing it! The games
section of our online store
includes a climate change card game
and the Traveling Nitrogen game
You might also be interested in:
The expression "on solid ground" is often used to describe something as stable. Usually the solid ground underfoot seems very stable. But sometimes it is not. "The ground seemed to twist under us like...more
Scientists have learned that Mount Hood, Oregon's tallest mountain, has erupted in the past due to the mixing of two different types of magma. "The data will help give us a better road map to what a future...more
The Earth's mantle is a rocky, solid shell that is between the Earth's crust and the outer core, and makes up about 84 percent of the Earth's volume. The mantle is made up of many distinct portions or...more
Some geologic faults that appear strong and stable, slip and slide like weak faults, causing earthquakes. Scientists have been looking at one of these faults in a new way to figure out why. In theory,...more
The sun goes through cycles that last approximately 11 years. These solar cycle include phases with more magnetic activity, sunspots, and solar flares. They also include phases with less activity. The...more
Studying tree rings doesn't only tell us the age of that tree. Tree rings also show what climate was like for each year of a tree's life, which means they can tell us about climates of the past and about...more
Earth's first life form may have developed between the layers of a chunk of mica sitting like a multilayered sandwich in primordial waters, according to a new hypothesis. The mica hypothesis, which was...more