Strong ground motion in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, during the M7.0 12 January 2010 Haiti earthquake

By: , and 

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Abstract

No strong motion records are available for the 12 January 2010 M7.0 Haiti earthquake. We use aftershock recordings as well as detailed considerations of damage to estimate the severity and distribution of mainshock shaking in Port-au-Prince. Relative to ground motions at a hard - rock reference site, peak accelerations are amplified by a factor of approximately 2 at sites on low-lying deposits in central Port-au-Prince and by a factor of 2.5 - 3.5 on a steep foothill ridge in the southern Port-au-Prince metropolitan region. The observed amplification along the ridge cannot be explained by sediment - induced amplification , but is consistent with predicted topographic amplification by a steep, narrow ridge. Although damage was largely a consequence of poor construction , the damage pattern inferred from analysis of remote sensing imagery provides evidence for a correspondence between small-scale (0.1 - 1.0 km) topographic relief and high damage. Mainshock shaking intensity can be estimated crudely from a consideration of macroseismic effects . We further present detailed, quantitative analysis of the marks left on a tile floor by an industrial battery rack displaced during the mainshock, at the location where we observed the highest weak motion amplifications. Results of this analysis indicate that mainshock shaking was significantly higher at this location (~0.5 g , MMI VIII) relative to the shaking in parts of Port-au-Prince that experienced light damage. Our results further illustrate how observations of rigid body horizontal displacement during earthquakes can be used to estimate peak ground accelerations in the absence of instrumental data .

Additional publication details

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Strong ground motion in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, during the M7.0 12 January 2010 Haiti earthquake
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher BSSA
Contributing office(s) Earthquake Science Center
Description 12 p.
Conference Title The 4th International IASPEI/IAEE Symposium on the Effects of Surface Geology on Seismic Motion (ESG4)
Conference Location University of California Santa Barbara
Conference Date August 23 - 26, 2011
Country Haiti
City Port-au-Prince