Searching for the 2010 Haiti earthquake fault

Robert R. Stewart, Eray Kocel, Paul Mann, and Li Chang


On January 12, 2010 Haiti suffered a major earthquake with subsequent tragic human and infrastructural loss. Surface expression of the earthquake fault has not yet been unambiguously identified. Thus, key geologic components of the devastating event are not well resolved. The Haiti Subsurface Imaging (HASI) Project, supported by the SEG Foundation, aspires to find expression of this "blind" fault. We have made two geophysical reconnaissance surveys to Haiti: Undertaking GPS and gravity surveys near Port-au-Prince, and ten days of seismic, GPS, and gravity surveys in the Leogane Delta region (close to the earthquake's epicenter). These surveys have provided near-surface rock properties as well as some evidence of faulting. Further east along the main Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault zone, lies Lake Enriquillo. We have conducted sonar surveys on the Lake which have produced some exciting details of the main faults. We anticipate that the top of the proposed 2010 blind fault could be some several kilometers deep. While our shallow, short seismic lines show some evidence of disruption, the image is not clear and the discontinuities are not necessarily part of a larger fault system required to create the 2010 earthquake. Thus, we must return and image deeper in the section with a larger source (in March, 2014).

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