A new study published in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America warns that, “the entire Enriquillo fault system [which crosses Hispaniola] appears to be seismically active; Haiti and the Dominican Republic should prepare for future devastating earthquakes there.”
The draft of the paper, which has been reported on 26th January in Nature (‘A shaky future for Hispaniola‘), can be found online at:
Historical records indicate frequent seismic activity along the northeast Caribbean plate boundary over the past 500 years, particularly on the island of Hispaniola. We use accounts of historical earthquakes to assign intensities, and intensity assignments for the 2010 Haiti earthquakes to derive an intensity attenuation relation for Hispaniola. The intensity assignments and the attenuation relation are used in a grid search to find source locations and magnitudes that best fit the intensity assignments. Here we describe a sequence of devastating earthquakes on the Enriquillo fault system in the 18th century. An intensity magnitude MI6.6 earthquake in 1701 occurred near the location of the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the accounts of the shaking in the 1701 earthquake are similar to those of the 2010 earthquake. A series of large earthquakes migrating from east to west started with the October 18, 1751 MI7.4-7.5 earthquake, probably located near the eastern end of the fault in !
the Dominican Republic, followed by the November 21, 1751 MI6.6 earthquake near Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and the June 3, 1770 MI7.5 earthquake west of the 2010 earthquake rupture. The 2010 Haiti earthquake may mark the beginning of a new cycle of large earthquakes on the Enriquillo fault system after 240 years of seismic quiescence. The entire Enriquillo fault system appears to be seismically active; Haiti and the Dominican Republic should prepare for future devastating earthquakes there.