National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2013

Twin tsunamis triggered by the 12 January 2010 Haiti earthquake

Fritz, H.M., J.V. Hillaire, E. Molière, Y. Wei, and F. Mohammed

Pure Appl. Geophys., 170(9–10), 1463–1474, doi: 10.1007/s00024-012-0479-3 (2013)

On 12 January 2010, a magnitude Mw 7.0 earthquake occurred 25 km west–southwest of Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince causing an estimated 316,000 fatalities, thereby exceeding any previous loss of life from a similar size earthquake. In addition, tsunami waves triggered by the earthquake caused at least three fatalities at Petit Paradis due to a complete lack of tsunami awareness. The International Tsunami Survey Team (ITST) was deployed within weeks of the event and covered the greater Bay of Port-au-Prince and more than 100 km of Hispaniola’s southern coastline. The collected survey data include more than 21 tsunami heights along with observations of coastal land level change. Maximum tsunami heights of 3 m have been measured for two independently triggered tsunamis.

Feature Publications | Outstanding Scientific Publications

Contact Sandra Bigley |