Day 5: Port-au-Prince

We have hooked up with Eric and made it to Port-au-Prince.  We are staying for 2 days at the lab and equipment building of the Haitian Bureau of Mines, which in contrast to the destroyed headquarters, endured little damage. Several of the Haitian Bureau of Mines employees are eager to participate and will join us in the field for our GPS survey.  Tomorrow we plan to divide up all the gear for three teams (heading north, south, and one staying around PaP), train our colleagues, and begin the field work on Sunday.

Our location is surrounded by isolated areas of destruction (including a flattened police department). However, to our surprise people are incredibly resilient and resuming normal lives as best as they can. From the people we’ve spoken with there is still quite a bit of fear about the earthquake.  Many people who have lost their homes have set up a tent city on the grounds of the Bureau.  They have given us a very warm reception.

Haiti GPS Team

The crew met up at the border and started planning our strategy.

Collapsed house in Port-au-Prince

A collapsed school in PaP

The generosity of our hosts is breathtaking. After giving a lollipop to this little boy, his family, whose house was destroyed and is living in the tent city here, offer to share their food.



  1. Bellzie Said:

    So happy that you guys are here! Is there a correlation between heat and the probability of having an earthquake? I remember this summer my collegues and I were complaining of how terribly hot we were and our fear of having an eathquake.. Of course, we forgot all about our conversations starting in october… Also, I thought animals could “sense” these types of events?? The dogs were all going about their business in the half hour prior to the EQ! Anyway, welcome to PAP! Bienvenus! Bon travail!

    • haitigps Said:

      Scientists have studied closely the relationship between climate and earthquakes. There does not appear to be a strong statistical correlation, though some studies suggest a possible weak correlation between microseismicity (very small earthquakes) to atmosphere pressure (even phases of the moon). While dogs have been reported to bark before earthquakes, they also seem to bark a lot when no event is imminent.

  2. St.Pierre's Said:

    Glad to hear you’ve all safely arrived. Your families are watching over you from afar.

    • Moet Said:

      You may not believe but at least one of the persons following this blog is, in fact, a climate scientist. Regarding the theories as to how animals may be able to sense impending earthquakes, following video provides some interesting evidence.
      Now, contrary to the claims that animals can detect earthquakes minutes before they actually happen, the dog in this video senses it “just couple of seconds before” it strikes!

      • Bellzie Said:

        Very interesting, Thanks!

  3. geosak Said:

    Hi Sarah and Andy. It’s Simon Kattenhorn here (University of Idaho). Randomly came across your blog. Good luck with your work. It must be difficult to focus on science with so much devastation around you. Are you going to be looking for surface rupture? I have seen no documentation so far.

    • haitigps Said:

      Hi Simon. Several geoscientists have visited the fault (Roger Bilham, Paul Mann) and so far there is no indication of surface rupture. Quite unexpected.

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