GeologyNews

Earthquake in Haiti: The Most deadly earthquake of 2021

On August 14, 2021, a 7.2 magnitude of earthquake hit Tiburon Penisula, the southern region of Haiti. In a while, a tsunami warning was issued. However, the danger of tsunami ended shortly after the earthquake and fortunately, a tsunami did not hit the Haiti coast.

Aftershocks of magnitude 5 and more are still coming and expected to continue over a month.

This earthquake is the most dangerous natural disaster of 2021 so far, which causes approximately 2000 deaths till now and many injured. Moreover, more than 83,000 buildings are damaged. According to UNICEF, 1.2 million people are affected.

Details of Haiti Earthquake 2021

Exact Location (Epicenter)

Haiti is an island country in the Caribbean sea. It is in the North American continent.

The exact location of the Haiti Earthquake has coordinates 18.408°N, 73.475°W. The epicenter of the Earthquake is 150 km away in the west of Haiti’s Capital city, Port-au-Prince.

The epicenter location is shown in the screenshot of Google Earth Map.

Location of Epicenter of Haiti Earthquake 2021

Magnitude of earthquake

7.2 on Ritcher Scale

Date and Time of Earthquake

The earthquake in Haiti happened on August 14, 2021, and the time was 8:29:09 a.m. EDT

Depth

The depth of the Haiti earthquake was recorded 10 km.

Travel time Residual

0.73 seconds

Tectonic history of the region

The Caribbean is an active earthquake region due to the boundaries of 4 plates which are the North American plate, South American plate, Nazca plate, and Cocos plate. You can see in the Map of tectonic summary region issued by the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

Tectonic Map of Caribbean Region by USGS

Plate boundaries are active earthquake regions. There are many active earthquake points in the Haiti region. Also, many active volcanoes are present.

Here is the macroseismic intensity map of the Haiti Earthquake published by USGS on August 14, 2021.

earthquake in haiti 2021

Why Haiti Earthquake happened?

If you want to know the reason behind the earthquake, you should know the Geology of the Haiti region first.

Geology of Haiti Region

Geological structures (Faults) are the main cause of earthquakes. This earthquake happened due to the movement along Enriquillo–Plantain Garden fault zone which is an active Strike-slip fault. This fault zone is created because of the relative movement between Caribbean Plate and the North American plate.

Fault zones in Haiti Region

The fault is named because of the presence of Lake Enriquillo in the Dominican Republic from where the fault emerges and ends in the area of Plantain Garden River located in Jamaica. This fault covers the area of Hispaniola Island. The Dominican Republic and Haiti are also located here along this fault.

3 more faults are also present in this area which are

  • Walton fault zone
  • Oriente fault zone
  • Septentrional fault zone

Because of all these fault zones, this region is tectonically active, and high magnitude earthquakes are quite often in this area.

Haiti Earthquake 2010

In past years, this region has faced many earthquakes of high magnitude. A 7.0 magnitude earthquake came to Haiti Region on January 12, 2010. It affected more than 3 million people and the death rate was between 110,000 to 170,000. Moreover, this earthquake has completely destroyed 200,000 homes and more than 30,000 buildings.

As the epicenter of the Haiti earthquake in 2010 was only 25 km away from the Capital of Port-au-Prince, it damaged the city badly. Most of the disaster was faced by this city. Schools, hospitals, high-rise buildings, government infrastructure, and airports got severely damaged.

To study earthquakes in detail, read What are Earthquakes?

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