Professor explains what caused Haitian earthquake - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Professor explains what caused Haitian earthquake

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By Tayleigh Davis - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Earth Science professor Babatunde Abayomi is digging into the Plate Tectonic Theory with his students following the devastating Haitian earthquake.

It's the first major earthquake to hit Haiti in 200 years. Scientists say it all started when the small Caribbean plate slid past the large North America plate.

"It could happen anywhere," said Dr. Abayomi. "Some areas are prone to it because of the earth and ocean and proximity to land."

The quake was centered six miles down. That's relatively shallow and didn't give shock waves far to travel. It concentrated the damage.

"Rocks will break creating a series of movements up or down," Dr. Abayomi said. "It depends on the fault lines."

Haiti sits between two fault lines. The weaker one gave creating enormous pressure for the 7.0 magnitude quake.

There are a series of shock waves outside of the big one," Dr. Abayomi noted.

That's what ASU student Cory Moss has been focusing on in class discussions.

"It was devastating," Moss said. "The main contributors were the aftershocks. You think of the earthquake and then ten seconds later...boom another shock comes."

Some aftershocks even hit the 5.0 magnitude mark. Dr. Abayomi believes Haiti has seen the end of the aftershocks, but all the damage on the country's many hillsides could lead to landslides in the future.

Earthquakes are actually fairly common in North Georgia. But we're not on a major fault line and those tremors are always minor.

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