Hispaniola’s fault lines make it prone to quakes, tidal waves
Santo Domingo.- Active geologic faults cross Hispaniola, shared by Dominican Republic and Haiti, give the two nations high probabilities of seismic activity, such as quakes and tsunamis.
Recorded from 2003 to September 2011 were 3,586 telluric movements, of which 1,979 had magnitudes between 2.4 and 5.4.
One of the active important blocks for seismic activity is the country’s north, with the 300 kilometer long Northern Fault, which goes from Manzanillo, Montecristi (Northwest) to Samaná (Northeast).
Also in the north are the Northern Fault and the Puerto Rico Trench. Both groups border part of the Atlantic Ocean.
Among the most important seismic events, in magnitude as well as in damages caused occurred in that block, but felt in the entire country, was on December 2, 1562, which destroyed Santiago and La Vega.
On May 7, 1842, a magnitude 11 quake was catastrophic for the entire island, bringing about the destruction of Santiago, Montecristi, Mao, La Vega and Cotuí, while the tidal wave unleashed along the north coast killed thousands in Haiti.
In the island’s western edge there were severe damages in Cape Haitien, Port-de-Paix, Fort Liberté and Mole Sant-Nicholas. There were also damages in Santo Domingo.
The most recent catastrophe was the January 12, 2010 quake magnitude 7.0, which leveled the Haiti capital Port-au-Prince, where as many as 300,000 people died.