SCEC2021 Plenary Talk, Seismology

The 2021 Nippes, Haiti, Earthquake

Susan E. Hough

Oral Presentation

2021 SCEC Annual Meeting, SCEC Contribution #11607
Few earthquakes illustrate the challenges posed by interacting and cascading hazards as clearly and as tragically as the 14 August 2021 M7.2 Nippes, Southern Haiti earthquake. Earthquakes themselves pose a cascading hazard in Hispaniola, with multiple damaging earthquakes in the 18th century and now the pair of large earthquakes in 2010 and 2021. The recent Nippes event provides an opportunity to explore open issues related to earthquake-earthquake interactions. For example, preliminary results suggest that the 2021 rupture did not abut the 2010 rupture, but rather was separated by a gap of tens of kilometers. This raises concerns that a subsequent moderately large earthquake could fill the gap, but also provides impetus to reconsider historical events in the region. In particular, a relatively recent historical earthquake, in 1860, that was not thought to be a major event, but impacted the region between the two recent earthquakes. More generally, the Nippes earthquake calls attention to the challenges posed by interacting hazards: not only landslides, debris flows, and earthquakes, but also meteorological hazard associated with hurricanes and tropical storms, epidemiological hazards associated with the pandemic and other communicable diseases, and sociological hazards associated with continuing political instability. As the international community strives to provide support for Haiti, a key priority is to support, train, and empower local communities of professionals involved with risk reduction activities within Haiti. The 2010-2021 pair of earthquakes also illustrates the strides that can be made along these lines.