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Bridging the Haitian Earthquake to STEM Tools of Compassion and Hope PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 21 January 2010 08:59

As we all are aware, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Hispaniola Island, just 15 kilometers (10 miles) southwest of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince on January 12, 2010. With its strong magnitude and shallow depth of roughly 8.3 kilometers (5.2 miles), this was the worst to earthquake to strike this region in decades and possibly the worst in a century.7.0 Quake Near Port Au Prince

NASA's Earth Observatory team uses the topography map shown to the right to illustrate tectonic influences in the region of the earthquake. Ocean areas appear in shades of blue, and land areas appear in shades of brown. The USGS reported that the earthquakes occurred along the boundary between the Caribbean and North America plates. The two tectonic plates meet at a strike-slip fault, with the Caribbean plate moving eastward with respect to the North America plate.  According to news reports, schools, hospitals, government buildings, aid centers, and homes collapsed. Survivors scrambled to rescue trapped friends and family members without the benefits of electricity or phone service while more than 30 aftershocks rocked the area.

And yet as this picture from the Haitian Project, Inc. shows, “School is back, or at least a version of it.”  An earlier update from the Haitian Project reported, that their staff have been in communication with structural engineers in the U.S. who have advised school officials as to the integrity and habitability of school buildings.

HaitianProjectUpdate13In terms of understanding and illustrating the tectonic forces behind the earthquake using satellite imagery and in helping people and communities on the ground, STEM leaders and innovators provide critical expertise to helping people and saving lives.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 January 2010 14:29