Q:

Why did the Haiti earthquake happen?

A:

Quick Answer

The earthquake in Haiti was the result of sliding plates between North America and the Caribbean. The plates are slabs that cover the Earth and resemble a giant jigsaw puzzle. The plates are constantly creeping past each other.

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Full Answer

When the plates move past each other, stress is created. The stress is eventually released in a strong movement that leads to the fault along the plates moving. The movement leads to an earthquake.

In Haiti, the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault system generated the earthquake that devastated the country on Jan. 12, 2010. The earthquake was rated a 7.0 on the Richter scale and 6.2 miles below the Earth‘s surface. The epicenter of the earthquake was 10 miles southwest of the country’s capital city, Port-au-Prince. All of these factors contributed to the wide range of destruction and high number of casualties. Following the earthquake, aftershocks of 5.0 and higher were felt, which led to more destruction.

The Haiti earthquake was responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people. Haitian officials claim more than 300,000 people died, but there is no way to know for certain exactly how many did. Immediately after the earthquake, 1.5 million people were left homeless and living in tents.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why do earthquakes happen?

    A:

    Earthquakes are the result of two of the Earth's crustal plates slipping past each other, otherwise known as plate tectonics. The vibrations caused by this sudden movement reverberate through the surrounding rock structures, and they are felt as tremors. Earthquakes are most common among the geologically active regions at the borders between plates of the Earth's crust, also known as fault zones.

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  • Q:

    What are some facts about the 2010 Haiti earthquake?

    A:

    The 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti took place on January 12th, at 4:52 p.m. The earthquake had a 7.0 magnitude on the Richter scale, which is defined as a major earthquake that causes damage to most buildings and is felt across great distances from the epicenter. The epicenter of the earthquake was 10 miles west of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti and the most populated area of the country.

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  • Q:

    What is the longest earthquake?

    A:

    The Sumatran-Andaman earthquake on December 26, 2004, is the longest lasting earthquake ever recorded. The continuous shaking lasted from 500 to 600 seconds, or about 10 minutes.

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  • Q:

    How does an earthquake occur?

    A:

    Earthquakes occur due to the movement of tectonic plates in the Earth's crust. Plates constantly shift and move, building energy. The release of that energy is an earthquake.

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