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7.0 Quake Near Port Au Prince

7.0 Quake Near Port Au Prince

The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument on NASA’s Terra spacecraft captured this false-color image of Haiti on January 21, 2010, nine days after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck the region and caused massive damage and loss of life, and one day after a large 5.9 aftershock caused additional damage.

While ASTER’s 15-meter (50-foot) resolution is not sufficient to see damaged buildings, it can be used to identify other results of the shaking. Tiny dots of white against the plant-covered landscape (red in this image) are possible landslides, a common occurrence in mountainous terrain after large earthquakes. The possible landslides were identified by carefully comparing the new image with an image acquired one year ago.

Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, is silver in the false-color image. The rivers are pale blue, while the ocean is dark blue. Exposed soil is white.

NASA Earth Observatory image created by Jesse Allen, using data provided courtesy of NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team. Caption adapted from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Photojournal. Captaion by Holli Riebeek.