The earthquake that struck Haiti on Saturday morning occurred on the identical system of faults because the one which devastated the capital, Port-au-Prince, in January 2010. And the earlier quake nearly actually made this yet another prone to happen.

Each quakes struck on an east-west fault line on the convergence of two tectonic plates, giant segments of the Earth’s crust that slowly transfer in relationship to one another. At this fault line, referred to as the Enriquillo-Plantain Backyard fault zone, the Caribbean plate and the North American plate transfer laterally, or facet by facet, with respect to one another at a charge of a couple of quarter of an inch a yr.

The 2010 quake was centered about 30 miles west of Port-au-Prince. The quake on Saturday was about 50 miles additional west.

Susan E. Hough, a seismologist with the USA Geological Survey who studied the 2010 earthquake, stated there was little question that it and the one Saturday had been linked.

“It’s nicely established that you simply do have this domino idea,” she stated, the place the power launched by one earthquake alters the stress patterns elsewhere alongside the fault line. “However we don’t have a crystal ball that tells us which domino goes to fall subsequent.”

Dr. Hough stated seismologists had been involved a couple of area of the fault zone to the east, nearer to the 2010 rupture web site. “Now we’ve seen the phase to the west rupture,” she stated.

She stated that the fault ruptured each vertically and laterally. Preliminary analyses advised that the fault ruptured to the west, which might imply that a lot of the power was directed away from Port-au-Prince and towards the extra sparsely populated area alongside the Tiburon peninsula. If that’s the case, then a lot of the aftershocks that inevitably comply with a big earthquake would more than likely happen to the west as nicely.

“To the extent that something could possibly be excellent news for Haiti, these are good indicators,” Dr. Hough stated.

At a magnitude of seven.2, Saturday’s quake launched about twice as a lot power because the one in 2010, which was a magnitude-7.0 quake. That quake killed greater than 200,000 folks.

Harm and casualties from quakes depend upon many elements moreover magnitude. The depth and site of the rupture, the time it occurred and the standard of building all can play main roles. Within the 2010 earthquake, shoddy building — particularly poorly constructed masonry buildings — was blamed for lots of the deaths and accidents.

The fault zone extends west to Jamaica, which can also be susceptible to main earthquakes. Along with the 2010 quake, the fault zone was more than likely the supply of 4 main earthquakes within the 18th and nineteenth centuries, together with ones that leveled Port-au-Prince in 1751 and once more in 1770.