Haïti Aardbeving

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Magnitude of the Earthquake

The Haiti Earthquake was a 7.0 on the Richter logarithmic scale. There is no maximum size on the scale. In comparing the Haiti earthquake to those against history, the largest earthquake ever was in Chile with a 9.5 on the Richter scale. The most recent earthquake in San Francisco (1989 Loma Prieta) was also a 7.0 earthquake. The Resulting damage is more devastating in Haiti due to building style and the epicenter location.

How Many People Have Died

The death toll is, at this time, is unclear, but Haiti officials fear that there will be around 100,000 that will be killed from the earthquake. Some other officials estimate that the death toll will be in the 30-50 thousand range. This makes the Haiti Earthquake one of the most devastating in history.

According to the US Geological Survey, since 1990, there have been four earthquakes that have had death tolls over 50,000. The largest death toll, since 1990, was 227,898 off the west coast of Northern Sumatra. The Loma Prieta earthquake, in San Francisco (with similar magnitude), had a death toll of 63.

Haiti Building Styles Contribute to Death Toll

One of the least expensive ways to build a home is with concrete. And, the most likely way to die in an earthquake is from something heavy falling on you. Many of the buildings in Haiti are build of concrete. And, since the area is historically not earthquake prone, the buildings aren’t built for the shaking. Many people have been trapped under concrete rubble.

Many volunteers are needed to go and find people that may be covered or trapped by building debris. It will take many days to go through all the building rubble.

Haiti Earthquake Epicenter

The epicenter of the Haiti Earthquake was only 6.2 miles deep and only 10 miles from the city of Port -Au- Prince. That may sound pretty deep, but as earthquakes go it is very shallow. Most earthquakes are thousands of miles deep and barely felt. The closer the earthquake is to the surface, the more damaging it will be. That means that two earthquakes with the same magnitude can have far different effects based on the epicenter and location in relation to the city.

The Cause of the Haiti Earthquake

The cause of the earthquake is the same as most earthquakes. The land masses are built on floating tectonic plates. In Haiti, the North American Plate and the Caribbean plates struck together along the

Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault System. The plates slip back and forth against each other in an east west direction. Seismologists call this a strike slip boundary. Some seismologists would call this a strike slip earthquake because the two plates are getting stuck or striking against each other and these plates would normally slip against each other at a rate of a few millimeters per year.

How to Help People in the Haiti Earthquake

Former president Bill Clinton says to give money to relief agencies. The reason is that sending supplies is difficult to do when the roads and infrastructure are broken. Sending supplies also requires a lot more manpower and logistical problems. Professional relief agencies like the Red Cross know what supplies are needed and where to get them quickly. What they need are funds to buy the supplies.

The United States and the World Bank have each contributed 100 million dollars to helping the people of Haiti. That is an impressive figure and the response to help these people has been swift.

Sadly, there are many relief agencies that pop up under these stressful times that are only scams. Please be careful and give support where the money will be used wisely. The people of Haiti need lots of support and help. Any donations to this cause will be greatly be appreciated by the victims. Many people need money to start a new life after losing everything.

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