Fault Responsible for Haiti Quake Slices Island's Topography

Port-au-Prince, Haiti A magnitude 7.0 earthquake occurred on January 12, 2010, at Port-au-Prince, Haiti, with major impact to the region and its citizens. Image credit: NASA/JPL/NGA
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January 14, 2010

The fault responsible for the Jan. 12 magnitude 7.0 earthquake that devastated Haiti is visible in images created using NASA radar topography data acquired in 2000.

This perspective view of the pre-earthquake topography of the area, created using data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission that flew aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour in February 2000, clearly shows the Enriquillo fault that is apparently responsible for the earthquake. The fault is visible as a prominent linear landform that forms a sharp diagonal line at the center of the image. The city of Port-au-Prince is immediately to the left (north) at the mountain front and shoreline.

Elevations in the image are color coded from dark green at low elevations to white at high elevations, and the topography is shaded with illumination from the left. The topography in this image is exaggerated by a factor of two.

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Alan Buis, 818-354-0474
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

2010-014

Images

Hispaniola

Haiti (on the west) and the Dominican Republic (on the east) share the island of Hispaniola.
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Southern Haiti Anaglyph

This stereoscopic (anaglyph) view of the pre-quake topography of the area clearly shows the fault that is apparently responsible for the earthquake as a prominent linear landform immediately southwest of the city (image center) and as a series of fault traces that extend westward along the full length of Haiti's southern peninsula.
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