MIAMI, Oct. 25 (UPI) — Haiti’s January earthquake may not have relieved stresses on the main earthquake fault there, leaving it “locked and loaded” for a major quake, researchers say.
Studies suggest a previously unmapped “blind” fault may have triggered the catastrophe but did little to ease centuries of seismic strain building up along the island’s major Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault zone.
That could put the island at risk for repeat temblors along the Enriquillo fault, one researcher said.
“Even if this earthquake did not occur along the entire fault, it’s certainly an indication that stress has built up in the area,” Andrew Freed, a Purdue University geophysicist, told The Miami Herald.
“It’s locked and loaded. My concern is that we are in the beginning of new cycles of earthquakes.”
Large quakes can follow within decades and at either end of the fault zone, another researcher says.
“There is another shoe waiting to drop at one or both ends of the rupture zone,” Timothy Dixon, a professor of geophysics at the University of Miami, said.
“We can’t say very much about when that other shoe will drop. It could be 100 years from now or it could be next month,” he said.
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