Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Future earthquake risk in Haiti: Startling images of ground motion help scientists understand risk of aftershocks

Date:
February 10, 2010
Source:
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science
Summary:
Analyzing images captured using Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) by Japan's ALOS satellite before and just after Haiti's earthquake on Jan. 12, scientists are making new discoveries. The images show that the earthquake rupture did not reach the surface -- unusual for an earthquake this size. More importantly, the images confirm that only the western half of the fault actually ruptured this time. Scientists are interpreting the data to establish the probability of another large quake in the next 20-30 years.

Scientists at the University of Miami have analyzed images based on Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) observations taken before and just after Haiti's earthquake, on January 12. The images obtained from Japan's ALOS satellite were made available to the scientific community through the European Space Agency (ESA) and GEO, the Group of Earth Observations. According to the new data, the images confirm that only the western half of the fault segment ruptured in the current earthquake. Scientists are analyzing the evidence to try to understand the possibility of another major quake hitting Port au Prince in the near future.
Credit: Group on Earth Observations, JAXA, UM Rosenstiel School

Scientists at the University of Miami have analyzed images based on Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) observations taken before and just after Haiti's earthquake, on January 12. The images reveal surprising new details.

Related Articles


The images were obtained using data from Japan's ALOS satellite and made available to the scientific community through the efforts of the European Space Agency (ESA) and GEO, the Group of Earth Observation, an umbrella consortium of countries that promotes the exchange of satellite data to efficiently observe our planet.

According to the new data, the earthquake rupture did not reach the surface -- unusual for an earthquake this size. More importantly, the images confirm that only the western half of the fault segment that last ruptured in 1751 actually ruptured in the current earthquake.

"We're still waiting for the other shoe to drop," said Tim Dixon, professor of geology and geophysics at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science.

The images reveal other startling facts, "Given the plate tectonic setting scientists expected mainly sideways motion, yet there was a large amount of vertical motion during the earthquake," said Falk Amelung, professor of geology and geophysics at RSMAS. "This explains how such a relatively small rupture was able to generate such a large earthquake."

The data shows the earthquake occurred on or near the Enriquillo Fault, where most scientists suspected but until now did not have enough evidence to prove it. "This is a relief, because it shows that our current ideas about the tectonics of the area are correct," Amelung added.

Dixon is looking at every bit of evidence to try to understand the possibility of another major quake hitting Port au Prince in the near future. "There's a reasonable probability of another large quake, similar to the January 12 event, striking Port au Prince within the next 20 to 30 years," Dixon said. "I'd like to see them relocate critical infrastructure such as government buildings, schools and hospitals, farther north out of the danger zone."

In 1986, at the dawn of the GPS age, scientists from the National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA) Jet Propulsion Lab, including Dixon began, a set of geodetic measurements on the island of Hispaniola. A decade later, those measurements would reveal that the Enriquillo fault in southern Haiti was a significant earthquake hazard. "In a very real sense, those early measurements set the stage for our current understanding of this dangerous fault zone. Scientists have been studying this fault and others on the island, ever since," Dixon said.

Shimon Wdowinski and Guoqing Lin, professors of geology and geophysics at RSMAS; Fernando Greene, graduate student at RSMAS and Sang-Hoon Hong, post-doctoral research scientist at RSMAS and at Florida International University also contributed to the analysis of the new images.

The work of the Rosenstiel School in active tectonics is supported by NASA, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program (NEHRP). Other institutions involved in the analysis of the images included JAXA (the Japanese Space Exploration Agency) and NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science. "Future earthquake risk in Haiti: Startling images of ground motion help scientists understand risk of aftershocks." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100209152237.htm>.
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science. (2010, February 10). Future earthquake risk in Haiti: Startling images of ground motion help scientists understand risk of aftershocks. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100209152237.htm
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science. "Future earthquake risk in Haiti: Startling images of ground motion help scientists understand risk of aftershocks." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100209152237.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Scientists Find Invisible Space Shield Protecting Earth

Scientists Find Invisible Space Shield Protecting Earth

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — An invisible barrier is keeping dangerous super fast electrons from interfering with our atmosphere, but scientists aren't entirely sure how. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Antarctic sea ice isn't only expanding, it's thicker than previously thought, and scientists aren't sure exactly why. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins