Causes Of The Earthquake In Haiti

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The Republic of Haiti is inhabited in the island of Hispaniola, west of the Dominican Republic. It is positioned in between the North Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Haiti’s population almost entirely descends from African slaves after gaining independence from France in 1804 (World Population Review, 2018). However, centuries later, Haiti has been faced with political, social, economic and environmental difficulties including numerous natural disasters adding to the ongoing chronic poverty and health issues (World Population Review, 2018).
Description of event

With a history of natural disasters that have destroyed the island and people of Hispaniola, the Haiti earthquake has been the most disastrous to date. Occurring on January
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Located under Haiti are two tectonic plates, the Caribbean plate and the North American plate (Nature, 2010). The earthquake occurred at a fault that is situated along this boundary and runs through Haiti. These two plates were sliding past one another with the Caribbean plate moving eastward while the North American was opposing (Live Science, 2010), which can be seen in Fig. 2. This is called a strike-slip fault because they are both vertical fractures in which the blocks move horizontally. Neither rock sinks or rises relative to one another, but they move in opposite directions (Nature, 2010). The increasing pressure eventually caused both of the plates to grind past each other. Eventually, the stress that builds up around the boundary along its faults is suddenly released which caused both sides of the fault to move and produce the earthquake while releasing immense amount of energy in the form of seismic waves; both P and S waves. The specific active fault system which broke to cause the Haiti earthquake was known as the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault system (Nature, 2010). Since the Caribbean is a minor plate and the fault system is not very long, major earthquakes in this part of the world are rare (Live Science,…show more content…
Just as Haiti’s economy was starting to grow once again, the country was struck with the earthquake and perpetuated the cycle of poverty. It was estimated that the overall losses and damages caused by the earthquake were between $7 billion to $14 billion US dollars (149). The gross domestic product of Haiti shrunk 5.1 percent and even before the earthquake, Haiti was the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. There was about eighty percent of the population living below the poverty line and forty percent living in abject poverty (Haiti earthquake web). This is partly because Haiti come out of slavery through rebellion and became the first black republic in the world. Haitians suffered from high unemployment rates and the earthquake exponentially caused this to increase. Most of Haiti’s economy was embedded on agriculture as it employed about two thirds of Haitians. The earthquake resulted in major layoffs after the destruction of the agriculture industry (Haiti earthquake
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