Haiti Earthquake Workgroup

UC Davis KeckCAVES

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Why is a geologic response important after a natural disaster such as the 2010 Haiti Earthquake?


Following the January 12th, 2010 Earthquake, the Government of the Republic of Haiti has proposed an ambitious plan for national recovery and development.  Two of the integral components of this plan are "territorial and economic rebuilding."  These involve establishing new development areas intended to encourage decentralization of the population, modernize agriculture, increase exports, and develop tourism.  We are convinced that geological assessment is necessary for sustainable development.  Inputs from geoscientists are needed to:

  1. Characterize potential earthquake sources in order to better understand the substantial hazards that exist throughout Hispaniola
  2. Document likely zones of surface rupture that can disrupt or destroy critical lifelines and facilities (e.g. hospitals, dams, ports, utilities, roads, etc.)
  3. Understand the potential hazard of surficial geological materials to amplify shaking and undergo liquefaction
  4. Identify and quantify hazards that may accompany earthquakes or occur on their own (e.g. landslides, tsunamis, flooding, subsidence)
  5. Assess time-dependent earthquake activity by studying aftershocks and earthquake clustering
  6. Identify natural resources that may be used to improve local building methods and support economic development
  7. Educate the population of the nature of earthquake hazards to improve awareness and preparedness for future events

For more information about Haiti's plan for recovery, please visit: http://haiticonference.org/ and http://refondation.ht

Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 April 2010 14:23

What are Crusta and LiDAR Viewer?


Crusta combines 1.) representation of global, high-resolution surface data, 2.) visualization of these data on a real-time virtual globe, and 3.) efficient exploration and annotation using real-time interactive software tools. Using Crusta one can easily import sub-meter resolution DEM or imagery for arbitrary locations on the globe. Dynamic manipulation of the visualization (illumination, vertical exaggeration, iso-lines) support explorative discovery of key surface features and a clear understanding of their three-dimensional embedding. Such features can be directly mapped on the virtual landscape. This capability greatly improves the confidence and localization of mapped features. The majority of movies on this website demonstrate Crusta.


LiDAR Viewer provides an opportunity for the user to view LiDAR point cloud datasets without sub-sampling or reducing the data. The program will load in a point cloud and display each individual point from the survey. LiDAR Viewer allows the user to select points and extract them to a separate file, extract primitives (plane, sphere, cylinder) from selected points, determine distance from a plane, and navigate in real-time through large datasets (>2.7 billion points). It is a powerful tool that can provide unique insight from LiDAR datasets that are difficult to attain using DEMs.

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 April 2010 15:22

Mapping with Crusta


Crusta provides real-time visualization of high-resolution topography and imagery. It now also supports mapping decorated polylines directly on the visualized 3D landscape similarly to applying decorated adhesive tape to a miniature model. This is demonstrated in the following video. The decorated polylines follow the topography exactly and distortions issues related to draping the adhesive tape and steep slopes are addressed. The symbols used for decorating the lines always retain their shape.

Data courtesy of:

  • Topographic - 1m DEM from Rochester Institute of Technology funded by World Bank
  • Topographic - ASTER 30m DEM of Hispaniola
  • Topographic - Blue Marble Next Generation funded by NASA's Earth Observatory
  • Imagery - Blue Marble Next Generation funded by NASA's Earth Observatory
  • Imagery - 15cm Google Aerial photography acquired January 17, 2010.

Please click here to view video: http://haiti.geology.ucdavis.edu/videos/CrustaMapping.mp4


Last Updated on Thursday, 22 April 2010 15:25

Enriquillo Fault Valley in LiDAR Viewer with Illumination


This is a fly through of the Enriquillo fault valley, west of Port au Prince in Haiti. This video demonstrates the ability of LiDAR Viewer to create artificial hill-shades in real-time of point cloud data. The process of turning on illumination is demonstrated twice during the movie when the dialog boxes appear. The other transitions are edited to shorten the length of the video.

We recommend viewing this movie in a higher resolution. Due to the compression youtube uses, some of the quality of the video is lost. Click here for high res version (~44 mb) - http://haiti.geology.ucdavis.edu/videos/mp4_2048_fwest_illum.mp4

The LiDAR data are provided by the World Bank. This film was recorded on a Mac Pro Desktop with 2.93 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon and 3GB of RAM.

Last Updated on Friday, 19 February 2010 11:42
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Our team of geoscientists and computer scientists is using state-of-the-art visualization methods to investigate fault properties, geologic structures, and damage caused by the January 2010 Haiti Earthquake.

This work is supported by the W.M. Keck Foundation and the National Science Foundation.

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