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Earthquake Strikes Léogâne and Port-au-Prince, Haiti

18.5N 72.3W

January 21st, 2010 Category: Earthquakes

Haiti - January 19th, 2010

Haiti - January 19th, 2010

A major earthquake struck southern Haiti on Tuesday, January 12th, knocking down buildings and power lines and inflicting what its ambassador to the United States called a catastrophe for the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation.

The 2010 Haitian earthquake was a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 Mw earthquake. Its epicentre was near Léogâne, approximately 25 km (16 miles) west of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. Port-au-Prince can be seen along the shores of the Port-au-Prince Bay near the center of this orthorectified image, taken one week after the catastrophe.

The earthquake occurred at 16:53 local time (21:53 UTC) on Tuesday, 12 January 2010, at a depth of 13 km (8.1 miles). The United States Geological Survey recorded a series of at least 33 aftershocks, 14 of which were between magnitudes 5.0 and 5.9.

The International Red Cross estimated that about three million people were affected by the quake; the Haitian Interior Minister, Paul Antoine Bien-Aimé, anticipated on 15 January that the disaster would claim between 100,000 and 200,000 lives. Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive announced that by 18 January over 70,000 bodies had been buried in mass graves.

The earthquake caused major damage to Port-au-Prince and the surrounding area. Many notable landmark buildings were significantly damaged or destroyed, including the Presidential Palace (President René Préval survived), the National Assembly building, the Port-au-Prince Cathedral, and the main jail. The headquarters of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), located in the capital, collapsed and the Mission’s Chief, Hédi Annabi, his deputy, Luiz Carlos da Costa, and the acting police commissioner were confirmed dead.

Étang Saumâtre and Lake Enriquillo, Haiti and Dominican Republic

18.5N 71.9W

February 21st, 2012 Category: Lakes

Haiti - January 2nd, 2012

This image shows the landscape of Hispaniola, a Caribbean island shared by Haiti (west) and the Dominican Republic (east). Visible by the left edge is the Gulf of Gonâve, a large gulf along the western coast of Haiti. Haiti’s capital city, Port-au-Prince, is located on the coast of the gulf. Several islands are located in the gulf, the largest being Gonâve Island, followed by the much smaller Cayemites.

Visible inland on the main island, southeast of the eastern tip of Gonâve Island, are Étang Saumâtre and Lake Enriquillo. The former is a brackish pond that is the largest lake in Haiti and the second largest lake in Hispaniola, after Lake Enriquillo. It supports over 100 species of waterfowl, flamingos and American crocodiles, one of the few lakes of its type in the world to harbour such fauna. The colour of the lake is an intense shade of blue. 

Lake Enriquillo is a lake in the Dominican Republic and is the largest lake and lowest point in the Caribbean and the lowest point on any ocean island. It is located in a rift valley formed by the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault that extends 79 miles (127 km) from Port-au-Prince Bay in Haiti in the west, to near Neiba Bay in the Dominican Republic in the east (this small bay appears bright turquoise here). This fault was responsible for the catastrophic 2010 Haiti earthquake .

Islands Of and Near Haiti, in the Caribbean

20.0N 72.7W

August 31st, 2010 Category: Snapshots

Haiti and Dominican Republic - August 5th, 2010

Haiti and Dominican Republic - August 5th, 2010

This image focuses on the island of Hispaniola, home to the countries of Haiti (left half) and the Dominican Republic (right half). Two large islands are visible near the Haitian shores: Gonâve Island, to the west, in the Gulf of Gonâve, and Tortuga, to the northwest. Both belong to Haiti.

Other islands can be observed to the north. The group just north of the shallow, light blue bank, belong to the Turks and Caicos archipelago. The one in the upper left corner is Mayaguana Island, belonging to the Bahamas. In the full image, the island of Puerto Rico can also be seen to the east of Hispaniola.

Devastating 8.8 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Chile – March 1st, 2010

35.3S 72.4W

March 1st, 2010 Category: Earthquakes, Image of the day

Chile - February 28th, 2010

Chile - February 28th, 2010

Chile has begun to count the cost of its deadly earthquake as nations around the Pacific eased their fears of a devastating tsunami. The quake, which occurred on Saturday morning, killed at least 350 people – 90% of them in their homes. It is feared the damage may cost tens of billions of dollars.

The epicenter was offshore of Chile’s Maule Region, near the city of Concepción, about 325 km (200 miles) southwest of Santiago. However, the effects of the 8.8 magnitude quake were felt as far away as Sao Paulo, Brazil – a distance of about 2850 kilometers.

It is the largest earthquake to hit Chile in 50 years and the sixth strongest ever recorded – 100 times stronger than the one that hit Haiti in January.  Over 50 aftershocks have been recorded.

The epicenter of the quake was towards the center of this image; Santiago is located towards the top. Upon opening the full version, the majority of the Chilean coast can be observed, from the Atacama Desert in the North to Patagonia in the South.

The death toll looks set to rise, following reports that about 350 people died in the town of Constitución alone. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said that two million people had been affected by the earthquake. Many Chileans in affected areas have spent the first night since the earthquake outdoors, afraid to stay inside.

Meanwhile fears of a devastating tsunami across the Pacific receded on Sunday. About 50 Pacific countries and territories had issued tsunami alerts, although on Sunday the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center lifted its Pacific-wide alert. Japan has maintained an alert, issuing evacuation orders for 320,000 people around the coast. However, it downgraded it from major to normal – meaning waves of two metres were expected rather than three. French Polynesia and Tahiti were among those hit by high waves, but no casualties have been reported.

Cuba, Haiti and Other Caribbean Islands

18.5N 72.3W

February 11th, 2010 Category: Snapshots

Cuba and Haiti - January 25th, 2010

Cuba and Haiti - January 25th, 2010

Many Caribbean islands can be observed here, including the island-nations of Cuba (left), Jamaica (below) and Haiti (right), as well as some islands of the Bahamas (above) and the Turks and Caicos (above, far right).

The Haitian capital city of Port-au-Prince, affected by a devastating earthquake about three weeks ago, is located on the shores of the Port-au-Prince Bay along the right edge of the image. The earthquake struck in the most populated area of the country, and the International Red Cross announced that as many as 3 million people had been affected by the quake.

On 28 January the Haitian government gave a confirmed death toll of 170,000, with many more thousands dead in the rubble and outside the capital, and not including unreported bodies buried by relatives. Haitian authorities also estimated that 300,000 had been injured and as many as one million Haitians were left homeless.