Damage patterns in port-au-prince during the 2010 Haiti earthquake

Ellen M. Rathje, Jeff Bachhuber, Ranon Dulberg, Brady R. Cox, Albert Kottke, Clinton Wood, Russell A. Green, Scott Olson, Donald Wells, Glenn Rix

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The 2010 Haiti earthquake represents one of the most devastating earthquakes in history. Damage to structures was widespread across the city of Port-au-Prince, but its intensity varied considerably from neighborhood to neighborhood. This paper integrates damage statistics with geologic data, shear wave velocity measurements, and topographic information to investigate the influence of these conditions on the damage patterns in the city. The results indicate that the most heavily damaged areas in downtown Port-au-Prince are underlain by Holocene alluvium with shear wave velocities that average about 350 m/s over the top 30 m. The remainder of Port-au-Prince is underlain mostly by older geologic units with higher shear wave velocities. Damage was also concentrated on hillsides around Port-au-Prince. These pockets of damage appear to have been caused by a combination of factors, including topographic amplification, soil amplification, and failure of weakly cemented, steep hillsides.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S117-S136
JournalEarthquake Spectra
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Oct 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geophysics


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