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19 February 2010

A landslide dam in Haiti caused by the earthquake

Thanks to Lynn Highland for the heads-up on this one. The French language website cyberpresse.ca has an article describing a valley blocking landslide triggered by the Haiti earthquake. The translation says: “The dam is large and there are still several tens of metres before the water passes over it. The problem is that it has hardly rained since the earthquake of January 12. When the rainy season triggers, a few …

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28 January 2010

Earthquake-driven coastal erosion (or a coastal lateral spread) in Haiti

The Discovery Channel has news of a very interesting example of rapid coastal erosion driven by the earthquake in Haiti. The site is at Petit Paradis to the west of Port-au-Prince. Eye-witness reports suggest that the town was struck by a highly localised tsunami in the earthquake, apparently killing 20. This is interesting in part because it is quite likely such a localised event would have been caused by a …

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21 January 2010

More on the earthquake damage to Haiti port

Google have now released an even higher resolution set of satellite images of Port-au-Prince, this time collected using the IKONOS instrument. These images have an extraordinary level of resolution – about 15 cm – meaning that the images are spectacular. This allows us to get a better understanding of the liquefaction damage at the port, the subject of my earlier post. So, this is a close up of the damage …

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Reports of landslides in the rural earthquake-affected areas of Haiti

As the Haiti disaster moves from the rescue phase into stabilisation and the initial component of recovery, the media are running out of miracle survival stories and tales of looting. This means that they are now looking for other stories to tell, and in particular are starting to focus on both the plight of communities outside of Port-au-Prince and on detailed eye-witness accounts. Interestingly, this is starting to suggest that …

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19 January 2010

Landslides from the Haiti earthquake – not many!

NASA has today released an image, partly obscured by cloud, of the upland area to the south of Port-au-Prince. This is the area that received the highest levels of shaking and, given the terrain, was most likely to have suffered slides. The image is available here: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA12495 and a comparison with an image taken in 2008 is here:http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=42333 Note that this area suffered heavy rainfall in the 2008 hurricane season. …

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18 January 2010

Haiti Earthquake – video of the liquefaction damage to the main dockyard in Port-au-Prince

Following up on my post yesterday on the nature of the liquefaction damage to the main container port in Port-au-Prince, CNN has a video from the site. The video is here:http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/01/15/haiti.harbor/index.html The recording appears to have been shot in this area (this is the post earthquake Google Geoeye imagery): The video clearly shows the liquefaction features, the collapsed wharves and the damaged cranes and notes how much work is needed …

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16 January 2010

Earthquake-triggered liquefaction damage to the docks at Port-au-Prince in Haiti

UPDATE: there is a video of this site here. One of the major impacts of large earthquakes in coastal areas can be the damage to dock facilities caused by liquefaction. The process of seismic liquefaction is well-explained elsewhere, so I won’t reprise that here. However, if liquefaction does occur then high levels of damage can occur to the very facilities needed to bring aid into the affected area. Given the …

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15 January 2010

Why the Haiti earthquake takes us into new territory for disaster response

The Haiti earthquake rightly continues to dominate the news around the world, with the situation on the ground looking increasingly desperate. The news media are already reporting on the growing frustration amongst the population about the lack of aid, not uncommon in large disasters actually, but probably magnified in this case. Although every rapid onset disaster is different, in a number of ways this event takes us into new territory. …

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14 January 2010

Google Earth imagery of the Haiti Earthquake

With admirable speed Google have released two high quality images of the earthquake affected areas: http://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2010/01/imagery_layer_for_haiti_earthquake.html At the moment the imagery is just for the Carrefour and Port-au-Prince areas (i.e. not the rural upland areas), but it contains the first good news to emerge from the area. This is that on this imagery at least the number of landslides appears to be small and, perhaps most interestingly, there are few …

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13 January 2010

The Haiti earthquake – likely shaking damage to structures

Over the last few years a number of studies have examined the level of damage associated with the intensity of shaking in earthquakes. The table below shows the relationship between shaking intensity (MMI) across the top and different types of building down the side. The number is the percentage of buildings damaged or collapsed: Click on the table for a better view in a new window. This is then helpful …

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