Geology

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Shalini Pyapali
Geology 1/Discussion Section 1
02/27/11
Discussion Paper #2

The Haiti earthquake and the Chile earthquake both occurred at high magnitudes and caused destruction in their respective regions. They were both addressed across the World as terrible natural disasters. Although both of them occurred along subduction zones and impacted their surroundings, there are certain societal and geological differences between them. The factors that may have caused the disparity of effects between the Haiti and the Chile Earthquakes are the locations of the earthquakes, the differences in their tectonic plate settings, and the level of preparedness of the regions in which they occurred.

The Haiti Earthquake took place along the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault Line (Figure 1) while the Chile Earthquake took place in the boundary between the Nazca and South American tectonic plates (Figure 3). The Haiti Earthquake occurred due to a Strike-Slip fault (Mattioli and Jansma, 2005). ./. The Chile Earthquake took place due to a Thrust Fault (Tasker, 2010). A Strike-slip fault occurs when two plates slide past each other causing vibrations whereas a Thrust fault occurs when one plate dives under another plate (Robinson 1993). Chile’s Earthquake took place 21 miles underground whereas Haiti’s Earthquake took place 10 to 13 km beneath the surface of the city right next to Port-Au-Prince (Bajak 2010). Since Chile’s Earthquake was twice as deep, the Earth absorbed more of its vibrations and the Earthquake did not have as much of an impact on the land as that of the Haiti Earthquake (Feffer 2010). Also, the epicenter of the Chile Earthquake was seven times farther from Concepción than the Haiti Earthquake’s was to its capital city of Porte-Au-Prince (Feffer 2010). Therefore, the populations in Haiti were definitely more affected. Although the Chile earthquake did not produce as many casualties as the Haiti Earthquake, it produced a higher magnitude of 8.8. The...
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