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  On 12 January 2010, a large earthquake (Mw = 7.0) struck the southern part of Haiti near the capital of Port-au-Prince.


Published results

Results published as Advance Online Publication in Nature_Geoscience on 10 October 2010.

Complex rupture during the 12 January 2010 Haiti earthquake

G. P. Hayes, R. W. Briggs, A. Sladen, E. J. Fielding, C. Prentice, K. Hudnut, P. Mann, F. W. Taylor, A. J. Crone, R. Gold, T. Ito & M. Simons

The paper (online here) describes analysis of InSAR, fieldwork and seismic data to unravel the complex fault ruptures of the Mw 7.0 earthquake. See also USGS news release.

Full citation:

Hayes, G.P., Briggs, R.W., Sladen, A., Fielding, E.J., Prentice, C., Hudnut, K., Mann, P., Taylor, F.W., Crone, A.J., Gold, R., Ito, T. & Simons, M., 2010. Complex rupture during the 12 January 2010 Haiti earthquake, Nature Geosci, 3, 800-805, doi:810.1038/ngeo1977.

 

summary of paper

Initially, the devastating Mw 7.0, 12 January 2010 Haiti earthquake seemed to involve straightforward accommodation of oblique relative motion between the Caribbean and North American plates along the Enriquillo–Plantain Garden fault zone. Here, we combine seismological observations, geologic field data and space geodetic measurements to show that, instead, the rupture process involved slip on multiple faults. Primary surface deformation was driven by rupture on blind thrust faults with only minor, deep, lateral slip along or near the main Enriquillo–Plantain Garden fault zone; thus the event only partially relieved centuries of accumulated left-lateral strain on a small part of the plate-boundary system. Together with the predominance of shallow off-fault thrusting, the lack of surface deformation implies that remaining shallow shear strain will be released in future surface-rupturing earthquakes on the Enriquillo–Plantain Garden fault zone, as occurred in inferred Holocene and probable historic events. We suggest that the geological signature of this earthquake—broad warping and coastal deformation rather than surface rupture along the main fault zone—will not be easily recognized by standard palaeoseismic studies. We conclude that similarly complex earthquakes in tectonic environments that accommodate both translation and convergence—such as the San Andreas fault through the Transverse Ranges of California—may be missing from the prehistoric earthquake record.

preliminary results

E. Fielding  JPL/NASA/Caltech

collaborators:

Takeo Ito, Caltech and Nagoya University
Mark Simons, Caltech
Anthony Sladen, Caltech
Paul Lundgren, JPL/NASA/Caltech
Scott Hensley, JPL/NASA/Caltech
Sang-Ho Yun, JPL/NASA/Caltech
Ana Bertran Ortiz, JPL/NASA/Caltech
Zhenhong Li, University of Glasgow

Here are some preliminary images about the Haiti earthquake, from ongoing analysis and research. The data used in this research was provided by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and European Space Agency (ESA) under Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Hazards project Supersite for Haiti, through the NASA-NSF-USGS ALOS L1 Data Pool at the Alaska Satellite Facility, under the ESA AOE-668 project (see ESA Earth Observation PI site), and through the PIXEL consortium. PALSAR level 1.0 data are shared among PIXEL (PALSAR Interfeometry Consortium to Study our Evolving Land surface), and provided from JAXA under a cooperative research contract with ERI, Univ, Tokyo. The ownership of PALSAR data belongs to METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) and JAXA.These images may be used for press purposes with the attribution "Eric Fielding/Jet Propulsion Laboratory/NASA" unless otherwise noted in the caption:

ALOS PALSAR ascending track wrapped interferogram, processed with predicted orbits and flattened empirically. Data from the GEO Supersite and ASF L1 Data Pool.

PALSAR path 137A interfergram of Haiti earthquake
The image above shows a map of surface deformation caused by the M7 January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti, derived from interferometric analysis of radar data acquired by the PALSAR instrument on the JAXA ALOS satellite. The area of many contours, near the city of Leogane, shows an area of surface uplift caused by fault motion at depth. Areas of intense local deformation, mostly in soft soil and perhaps landslides, show as incoherent speckle patterns or are masked with black. The red star shows the location of the epicenter where the earthquake started. The white rectangle shows the location of the model fault used by Anthony Sladen for modeling the earthquake slip from the seismic waves. This version of the PALSAR interferogram used the preliminary predicted orbit. Attribution for this image is Eric Fielding/JPL/NASA/JAXA.

ALOS PALSAR descending track wrapped interferogram, processed with precise orbits. Data from the PIXEL consortium.

PALSAR path 447D precise interfergram of Haiti earthquake
The image above shows a map of surface deformation caused by the M7 January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti, derived from interferometric analysis of radar data acquired by the PALSAR instrument on the JAXA ALOS satellite. The area of many contours, near the city of Leogane, shows an area of surface uplift caused by fault motion at depth. Areas of intense local deformation, mostly in soft soil and perhaps landslides, show as incoherent speckle patterns. This interferogram shows that main earthquake rupture did not reach the surface on land. This version of the PALSAR interferogram uses the final precise orbit. Attribution for this image is Eric Fielding/JPL/NASA/JAXA.

ALOS PALSAR descending track wrapped interferogram, processed with predicted orbits and flattened empirically. Data from the GEO Supersite.

PALSAR path 447D preliminary interfergram of Haiti earthquake
The image above shows a map of surface deformation caused by the M7 January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti, derived from interferometric analysis of radar data acquired by the PALSAR instrument on the JAXA ALOS satellite. The area of many contours, near the city of Leogane, shows an area of surface uplift caused by fault motion at depth. Areas of intense local deformation, mostly in soft soil and perhaps landslides, show as incoherent speckle patterns. This interferogram shows that main earthquake rupture did not reach the surface on land. This version of the PALSAR interferogram used the preliminary predicted orbit. Attribution for this image is Eric Fielding/JPL/NASA/JAXA.

 


Contact Information:


Eric J. Fielding, Section 324, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology,
Mailstop 300-233, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, California
91109, USA.