Saturday, January 16, 2010

Nary a Seismometer in Haiti


Haiti’s political situation had made it a difficult place to do science, Calais says. “A lot of researchers who otherwise would have liked to work in Haiti decided not to…. There is very little science infrastructure.”

Though the planet is littered with some 4,000 seismic stations that constantly detect waves produced as the Earth’s crust moves and shifts, not one station is in Haiti, the scientists note.

And I thought there'd be one, at least! At least we find out here that the fault ruptured for 31 km, which makes it a sound M7.0. As I have said, a 3 km M6.0 might not have made any difference, but who knows? This is an absolutely smooth fault which make M8's a distinct possibility, but everything depends on location.

We will never find out the PGV that caused this, or the extent of soft basin amplification. The rebuilding will just have to make some assumptions, and I wonder what could possibly be done here. Will there be enough money to bring in steel frames? Could a concrete frame building survive this, since we now expect an overlapping M8 in 20 years. I am very interested.

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