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Numerous Haiti Earthquake Aftershocks Cluster West of Port-Au-Prince AND North Offshore Of And Under Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands

Posted by pwl on January 18, 2010

As is evident in the first few frames of this security camera you can see the building (reportedly a shopping mall type structure) collapse. That’s extremely fast considering that it basically went down on the first few earthquake wave crests in the first few seconds of this 7.0 quake. It really shows the potent power of The BIG ONE! Imagine what that would do in your city.

At seven seconds into the video the building is standing. The camera starts moving at second 8. Smoke from the collapsing building is visible during second 10 and clearly the building falls by second 11. That’s about three seconds from first wave to catastrophic destruction of the structure. That’s not even enough time to comprehend what is happening if you’re standing in the structure before the roof comes down on your head. Yikes.

Cars driving down the road clearly divert from their lanes. At second 25 a truck appears on the left side of the video and attempts to turn left onto the main road and arcs left losing control – having just missed a car by a second or two – and comes to a stop before hitting the collapsing building. Double yikes.

As you can see from this Google Earth Satellite image below annotated with earthquake symbols, most of which have happened between Jan 10th, 2010 and today, Jan 18th, there is a massive cluster of aftershocks to the west of the hard hit area of Port-Au-Prince. What is of note though is the numerous numbers of low magnitude quakes just to the north of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Some of these are actually under Puerto Rico. Too close for comfort.

Click image to enlarge(Click image to enlarge).

This is quite the number of aftershocks and also reveals the underlying fault lines.

Do these sets of aftershocks under and to the north of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands provide a warning of dangers lurking or has the pressures on the underlying plates been relieved somewhat so that danger has been reduced? I wonder.

Update 20100119: Additional earthquakes: “It’s one week after the Haiti Earthquake and the World has seen earthquakes in Argentina, Venezuela and most recently Guatemala.” – San Francisco Gate (1). How likely are these additional quakes related to the Haiti quake and aftershocks? Could these be adjustments resulting from the Haiti quake? Hmm….

Update 20100120: The quakes continue in the region with another large one hitting Haiti (5.9 with some reports saying 6.1) today.

Looking at the past earthquakes in Haiti for 30 years one finds that there have been few with almost all of them happening last week.

Haiti quakes for 30 years.

Now compare this with the last 30 years of earth quakes in Puerto Rico next door to the east.

Puerto Rico quakes for 30 years.

The more significant aspect is that when you look at the recent past quakes in Puerto Rico you find that many have occurred very recently there. Was this a warning sign of the relieving of tension from the plates to the west under Haiti? I wonder.

Puerto Rico quakes for 1 year!

A possible telling sign that the quakes have expended their energy under the fault for the moment (no pun intended) is that in the week since the Haiti quakes there have been few under Puerto Rico directly… however to the north as shown in the Google Earth image above there have been many. Hmmm….

Puerto Rico quakes for 7 days.

Does this mean that when there are more quakes directly below Puerto Rico there could be another build up of energy under Haiti? Or has the energy drained for the moment? Why have there been so many quakes to the north of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands since the big one in Haiti? Does the fault line travel that way? Or does this mean that Puerto Rico has been slowly releasing the energy being built up and as such will avoid a big one while Haiti has been storing up the energy and let it all go in one big one plus over 50 medium ones since (not to mention all the quakes to the north east in the ocean)?

I’d like to learn more about this. Anyone have any good info on this?

Ok, wow, that didn’t take long… another search and presto found this amazing item warning of the coming catastrophe. They get some details wrong but they did raise the concern and nothing was done.

First the fault line image which is what I was searching for.

Haiti Region Fault Lines

A better resolution fault line map with the fault lines from quakes that hit Haiti.

Click image to enlargeHaiti Region Fault Lines. (Click image to enlarge).

Studying it and correlating with the above images and data it seems to show some seriously active faults. This could be a serious problem for the rest of the countries in this region. I wonder when. Anybody hazard a guess? Not that guessing or predicting earthquakes is really any different than soothsaying dead rock entrails? Or is it?

Can earthquakes be predicted with any accuracy?

Ok, that’s the mainstream view, what about counter views on predictions. Did anyone predict the Haiti quake? As it turns out someone got very close with a prediction. Very close.

Oct 11, 2008 by CoolP of Haiti Xchange dot com.

“A recent [French language] article [Google translation to English] in Haiti’s Le Matin newspaper has quoted 65 year old geologist and former professor at the Geological Institute of Havana, Patrick Charles, as stating that “conditions are ripe for major seismic activity in Port-au-Prince. The inhabitants of the Haitian capital need to prepare themselves for an event which will inevitably occur…” According to him, the danger is imminent. He ads “Thank God that science has provided instruments that help predict these types of events and show how we have arrived at these conclusions.”

[Oops did anybody take heed of the warnings? Likely not.]

According to Patrick Charles, Port-au-Prince is traversed by a large fault which is part of the Enriquillo Fault Zone. The fault starts in Petionville and follows the Southern Peninsula ending at Tiburon. In 1751 and 1771, this town was completely destroyed by an earthquake. As proof to his claims, he referred to recent tremors that have occurred in Petionville, Delmas, Croix des Bouquets, and La Plaine. Minor tremors such as these usually signal a larger earthquake to come.

Haiti is no stranger to large quakes with the destruction of Palais Sans Souci near the Citadelle in 1842. It has also been 200 years since any major seismic activity has occurred in Port-au-Prince. 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. Even the super-rich may not be immune as many own homes with great views, but precariously perched on the mountainsides above Petionville, on ground which is also susceptible to landslides.

Although city officials often discuss this, it is noted that no measures have been put into place to address the situation. Mr. Charles mentions the following devastating scenarios: A giant tsunami reaching all the way to Lake Azuéi (aka Étang Saumâtre) flooding La Plaine, and the complete destruction of Morne l’Hopital which is currently dotted with flimsy shantytowns. If we thought the recent back-to-back hurricanes were devastating, they surely will pale in comparison to a major earthquake in the densely populated Haitian capital.” – Possibility of Earthquake in Port-au-Prince?

Scarily prescient. Although to be fair Mr. Charles wasn’t specific about when. He did get the where right on target and the size was darn close as well. Maybe this guy, Charles, knows something that other seismic scientists don’t? I wonder.

Earthquake “prediction” has a lot in common with “climate prediction” (aka soothsaying). What’s interesting to me is that most people treat earthquake prediction as soothsaying while they treat climate prediction as hard science forecasting, bizarre since climate prediction so far is proving itself to be nothing more than soothsaying. Hmmm…


Earthquake data from Google Earth and Wolfram Alpha: Haiti and Puerto Rico.

(1) San Francisco Gate article on additional quakes.

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2 Responses to “Numerous Haiti Earthquake Aftershocks Cluster West of Port-Au-Prince AND North Offshore Of And Under Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands”

  1. Too good dude! I enjoyed!!

  2. ikinci el eşya alanlar ankara…

    […]Numerous Haiti Earthquake Aftershocks Cluster West of Port-Au-Prince AND North Offshore Of And Under Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands « Paths To Knowledge (dot NET)[…]…

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