Haiti Offshore : A Rapid Response Expedition


Rapid Enriquillo-Plantain Offshore Neotectonic Study 
An investigation of the January 12, 2010, Port au Prince, Haiti Earthquake

A multidisciplinary team of scientists are undook a 20-day research cruise on the Research Vessel Endeavor to map the effects of the Haitian earthquake offshore. We have mapped ephemeral structures related to the earthquake before they are erased by shallow water processes and storms. The survey concentrated along the Baie de Port au Prince and along the southern coast of the Canal de Sud.

Slump at the coast east of Grand Goâve, Haiti that caused a local tsunami, which came ashore and washed 7 people out to sea. Photo by Roger Bilham, University of Colorado
Map of area of January 12 earthquake and aftershocks.  The colors show calculated differences from before and after the earthquake in radar images.  The close bands of color indicate greater deformation. Notice how a set of  colored rings are centered over the offshore region near where the tsunami also occurred.

During the 14 days in Haitian waters, we have investigated the effects of the earthquake offshore. We performed detailed swath mapping of the bathymetry, collecting sidescan sonar images, “chirp” seismic profiles of upper 50 meters of sediments, and collecting sediment cores. We are also carrying a container of humanitarian supplies for the Haitian people.

A full description of the project (Proposal to NSF) can be downloaded here .

A one page summary can downloaded here .


R/V Endeavor departing on Feb 17 from the University of Rhode Island for the staging port of the cruise at Fort Lauderdale.
  Map showing areas to be studied during the cruise.  Area 1 is shelf where the January 12 rupture goes offshore.  Area 2 is off Port au Prince and the Léogâne delta.  Sediments in the outlined basin may contain a record of past earthquakes. Area 3 is at the transition to the next fault segment, which may have been stressed by the recent earthquake.