Day 2: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Sarah, Estelle, Paul, Rich, and Andy in front of the oldest cathedral in the west hemisphere (so we are told). Supposedly Christopher Colombus is buried here.

Andy, Sarah, and Estelle arrived in Santo Domingo today. Glen comes in tonight. The taxi ride from the airport to the downtown hotel was a hoot. It would appear that in this city of 200,000, they have no traffic lights and no stop signs. There aren’t even any yield signs. This does not deter the crossing of 4 lane highways in the least. All the drivers seem to know how to avoid other moving cars within an inch without missing a beat.

Eric remains stuck in Miami as the cargo carriers did not have room for our GPS equipment today. We also have temporarily lost contact with our Haitian colleagues. These are big problems. We have 3 GPS sets with us here in Santo Domingo now complete with 3 batteries thanks to the fabulous efforts of Estelle and Sarah in the marketplace without a translator! In theory, we could start making measurements as soon as we make it to Port-au-Prince. We were very tempted to cross the border anyway and head for the Port-au-Prince airport – which we are told is safe – but without contact with our Haitian colleagues to meet us, we have decided it is too risky. This is especially unfortunate as we had a really good ride all set up. We will wait here in Santo Domingo at least until we can re-establish contact with our Haitian colleagues.

We met up with 2 more of our US colleagues for dinner and to pow-wow on logistics, Paul Mann from the U. of Texas and Rich Koehler from the Alaska Department of Natural Resources in Fairbanks. They are trying to work out logistics to fly a helicopter along the fault to see if they can find any surface rupture. So far no one has found any surface ruptures, but there are no geologists currently on the ground in Haiti (though Roger Bilham has taken several helicopter rides in to look at the fault: We were at least able to hook up Rich with our ride, so he’ll head in tomorrow. In the mean time we saw some of the historical sights in the Dominican Republic on the way to dinner (picture above). Let’s see what tomorrow brings.




  1. Hi there geodesists!

    We are really crossing our fingers for you to get to Port-au-Prince as soon as possible. Not only for the GPS measurements, but for us to get footage directly from Haiti that we can use to tell how infinitely interesting geodesy and geohazards are – from a scientific perspective. 🙂

  2. Gabe Said:

    The geo-adventure is in full swing! This is exciting stuff…I’ll be checking back frequently and living vicariously through your field adventures. Tomorrow I’ll bring the 106 class on board during lecture. Stay safe!

  3. Steve Boss Said:

    Best of luck to Glen and everyone. Safety first!

  4. Freddy Blume Said:

    Roger Bilham from CU has been in Haiti for the past few days looking at surface rupture, liquifaction, and other damage.

    • haitigps Said:

      Hi Freddy,

      We have heard that Roger has made several excursions by helicopter to look at the fault. We have modified our post to link people to his webpage.


  5. Jerry Cook Said:

    Hi Jerry; I teach 7th grade Earth Science at Phoenix Country Day School in Arizona and received the link to your blog from Mitzi. I have a seismometer in my classroom and we have been studying our recording of the event and the story unfolding there. Tomorrow I will share your blog with my students and see if they have questions.
    Jerry Bob

  6. Jerry Cook Said:

    Hi Jerry,
    I teach Earth Science at Phoenix Country Day School in Arizona. I received news of your blog from Mitzi. I have a seismometer in my room and my students have been analyzing the recording as well as following the events there. We are particularly interested in your findings and how they may prevent this type of disaster in the future. My class will be following your blog with interest.
    Jerry Bob

  7. Paul Said:

    Tweeted on the NSF/GEO channel, hope you get some traffic. Stay safe.

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