Why Earthquakes In Haiti Are So Catastrophic


Why Earthquakes In Haiti Are So Catastrophic

It happened again.

Over the weekend, Haiti was hit by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake that crumbled homes and buildings and killed more than 1,200 people.

Rescuers are still working to find survivors amid the rubble. The death count is expected to rise.

More than a decade ago, a similar quake left an estimated 220,000 dead, more than 1 million people displaced and roughly 300,000 injured.

These two events are part of Haiti's history of major destructive earthquakes, records of which go back centuries.

Researchers say the country's unique geology make it seismically active — and prone to devastating earthquakes. A combination of factors, however, leaves the country especially susceptible to damage from these events.

Why is Haiti so susceptible to earthquakes?

Haiti sits on a fault line between huge tectonic plates, big pieces of the Earth's crust that slide past each other over time. These two plates are the North American plate and the Caribbean plate.

There are two major faults along Hispaniola, the island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

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