Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Science & MathematicsEarth Sciences & Geology · 1 decade ago

# Why didn't the earthquake affect Dominican Republic which is the neighboring country of Haiti?

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I'm sure it was felt, but because an Earthquake is essentially a point source and the energy has to spread away from that point, the farther away you get from the center the less energy there is to cause damage. It seems like the border of the Dominican Republic was about 50 miles away.

Here at the USGS they have a shake map:

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/shakemap/gl...

And you can see how the damage has essentially dissipated by the time you get to the border. So, there was nothing really special about the Dominican Republic except that for the most part it was just too far away from the epicenter to experience much damage during the most recent earthquake.

Source(s): I'm a geologist

Haiti is a country that looks like a giant C, sorta backwards, with the bottom of the C sticking out sorta massive underbite...

The epicenter of the earthquake was about halfway out the lower "finger", just southwest of Haiti's largest city. Somehow, all the aftershocks were even farther west..

The Dominican Republic is well east of the epicenter.

Perhaps a relief map of the island would explain it... there might be a great deal of mass in the middle and the earthquake only shook the areas lower to the sea?

The simplest answer would be that Haiti was closer to the epicenter than the Dominican Republic. The closer you are to the epicenter of an earthquake, the greater you feel the it and the more damage that is caused. Think of it like dropping a rock in a pond, initially the waves you create a closer together, but as they spread out, they get weaker. Look up the Doppler Effect for a better explanation.

All of that stuff above about distance from the epicenter and the shape of the island are considerations. I knew that Haiti was a poor country but the abject poverty so added to the damages and death. So many of the houses were just hovels. There are many things to consider when looking at damages from a earthquake such as depth of the epicenter, type of terrain and on and on. You can bet they felt it. . .they were just lucky enough to be further away.

I used to live in St. Louis and they said that if the New Madrid fault in southeast Missouri ever let loose again that there would be damage in St. Louis. When the big earthquake happened there in 1811 it affected folks for thousands and thousands of miles but it was one of the largest earthquakes to hit North America. It acutally lowered northeast Arkansas by six inches, was felt in Canada, made church bells ring in Bosten and felt in New Orleans. There were accounts of the Mississippi actually running north because of the giant fissures in the earth opening up and sucking the water in. I just read something about the land not being elastic in that area too so that makes a difference. But I think the biggest thing is that it just ruins the idea that size doesn't matter.

• Emily
Lv 4
4 years ago

No, they were not affected. But I was talking to someone who has family in the DR and he said that the earthquake was felt all over the country. The DR has open the airport for aid but the commute to Haiti is not easy due to the mountainous terrain. I saw a report from CNN about a hospital in DR across the boarder that was taking injured Haitians but were unable to cope with the number seeking help. I also heard that some of the injured have been taken to the capital of DR.

while explaining the lack of building codes, try to reason, too, that this country ate four hurricanes in one year, 2008..... how can you rebuild good solid housing when it's knocked down before you get it all the way up??..... you need a house, you put up whatever will shade you and wait for the next storm to knock it down, too.... it's a sad way to live.....

if you look on the earthquake site,

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww...

you can see where the Dominican Republic had their own shakers... just smaller ones....