Massive Earthquake Hits Haiti, Kills Hundreds
The 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti on Saturday has killed at least 1,297 people.
PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI — The 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti on Saturday has killed at least 1,297 people, according to Reuters, with the search for survivors ongoing.
Haiti sits in an area where several tectonic plates transition from smashing together to sliding past one another, according to one research geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Geologic Hazards Science Center who spoke to The Associated Press.
Saturday’s magnitude earthquake likely occurred along the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault zone, which sits at the intersection of the Gonave microplate, and the Caribbean plate, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Gavin Hayes, senior science adviser for earthquake and geologic hazards at USGS, explained to The Associated Press that friction builds up between the plates and until the strain that’s stored up overcomes the friction, causing the fault to move suddenly.
Haiti is especially vulnerable to earthquakes like these for socioeconomic reasons, according to The Associated Press. Its high population density and buildings that are primarily designed to withstand hurricanes rather than earthquakes exacerbate issues caused by seismic activity, but building earthquake resistant buildings remains difficult in what is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
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