7.2 Magnitude Earthquake has struck western Haiti

Haiti Earthquake

New Delhi, August 14, 2021: A 7.2 magnitude earthquake has struck western Haiti, triggering a tsunami alert and damaging buildings, says US Geological Survey (USGS) said. At the location of the earthquake, the local plate boundary is dominated by left-lateral strike slip motion and compression.

Magnitude 7.2 Haiti earthquake occurred as the result of oblique reverse motion along the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault zone, ~125 km west of the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince.

The earthquake occurred at shallow depths on either a reverse fault striking west and dipping to the north with a component of left-lateral slip, or a fault striking southeast and dipping to the southwest with a component of right-lateral slip. At the location of the earthquake, the local plate boundary is dominated by left-lateral strike slip motion and compression.

The plate boundary in this location accommodates eastward, left-lateral motion of the Caribbean plate relative to the North America plate. Within this context, the earthquake likely occurred on the east-west striking, north dipping fault plane with a component of left-lateral slip.

On January 12, 2010, an M 7.0 earthquake struck the same peninsula of Haiti and was located ~75 km east of the August 2021 earthquake. The 2010 earthquake caused substantial damage in the city of Port-au-Prince and the surrounding regions where damage from the earthquake and subsequent cascading hazards caused over 200,000 fatalities. The August 2021 earthquake likely occurred within the same fault system as the January 2010 earthquake; however, the 2010 earthquake occurred on a blind thrust fault and not directly on the main plate-boundary fault.

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