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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 14, issue 7 | Copyright
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 14, 1789-1818, 2014
© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 21 Jul 2014

Research article | 21 Jul 2014

Landslides triggered by the 12 January 2010 Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Mw = 7.0 earthquake: visual interpretation, inventory compiling, and spatial distribution statistical analysis

C. Xu1,2, J. B. H. Shyu2, and X. Xu1 C. Xu et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory of Active Tectonics and Volcano, Institute of Geology, China Earthquake Administration, Beijing, 100029, China
  • 2Department of Geosciences, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

Abstract. The 12 January 2010 Port-au-Prince, Haiti, earthquake (Mw= 7.0) triggered tens of thousands of landslides. The purpose of this study is to investigate the correlations of the occurrence of landslides and the thicknesses of their erosion with topographic, geologic, and seismic parameters. A total of 30 828 landslides triggered by the earthquake covered a total area of 15.736 km2, distributed in an area more than 3000 km2, and the volume of landslide accumulation materials is estimated to be about 29 700 000 m3. These landslides are of various types, mostly belonging to shallow disrupted landslides and rock falls, but also include coherent deep-seated landslides and rock slides. These landslides were delineated using pre- and post-earthquake high-resolution satellite images. Spatial distribution maps and contour maps of landslide number density, landslide area percentage, and landslide erosion thickness were constructed in order to analyze the spatial distribution patterns of co-seismic landslides. Statistics of size distribution and morphometric parameters of co-seismic landslides were carried out and were compared with other earthquake events in the world. Four proxies of co-seismic landslide abundance, including landslides centroid number density (LCND), landslide top number density (LTND), landslide area percentage (LAP), and landslide erosion thickness (LET) were used to correlate co-seismic landslides with various environmental parameters. These parameters include elevation, slope angle, slope aspect, slope curvature, topographic position, distance from drainages, lithology, distance from the epicenter, distance from the Enriquillo–Plantain Garden fault, distance along the fault, and peak ground acceleration (PGA). A comparison of these impact parameters on co-seismic landslides shows that slope angle is the strongest impact parameter on co-seismic landslide occurrence. Our co-seismic landslide inventory is much more detailed than other inventories in several previous publications. Therefore, we carried out comparisons of inventories of landslides triggered by the Haiti earthquake with other published results and proposed possible reasons for any differences. We suggest that the empirical functions between earthquake magnitude and co-seismic landslides need to be updated on the basis of the abundant and more complete co-seismic landslide inventories recently available.

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