Monday, January 3, 2011

Can Hurricanes Trigger Earthquakes?

Scientists from the University of Miami presented a theory at the American Geophysical Union meeting last month linking the devastating Haiti earthquake in January 2010 to strong tropical storm systems that struck the region in 2008.

The hypothesis put forth is that the mass of sediment removed from Haiti’s uplands (and deposited in adjacent lowlands) influenced the stresses on the Léogâne Fault zone enough to cause it to rupture, resulting in the devastating Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake. The cause of such rapid erosion, according to the abstract, was the combined effects of two hurricanes and two tropical storms in 2008 on a severely deforested landscape.


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