Despite Haiti being on a major fault line seismic activity has not been active there on a mass scale. “I believe the last major earthquake in Northern Haiti was at least 100 years ago,” says UW-Madison Geophysics professor Clifford Thurber.

Haiti is situated on a strike-slip fault between two great plates of the earth’s crust. The island nation was rocked by a 7.0 earthquake Tuesday which Thurber says is comparable to the “World Series” quake seen in Santa Cruz, California in 1989.

However because of Haiti’s third world economy, buildings have been built poorly which caused many to crumble. Thurber says developed countries often have structures built to withstand such impact, such as those seen in San Francisco designed to withstand activity on the San Andres fault. He admits the buildings would sustain damage with a quake of that magnitude but are designed not to collapse.

Brian Moon reports (:60)


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