Haiti and its neighbours must prepare themselves for more massive quakes after the devastating tremors this week increased pressure along a lengthy fault line, scientists warned.
Paul Mann, a senior research scientist at the Institute for Geophysics at the University of Texas at Austin, warned
that just because the rebuilding process had started people shouldn't assume the risk was over.
"This relief of stress along this area near Port-au-Prince may have actually increased stress in the
adjacent segments on the fault," he told AFP.
Researchers have already begun to work on models to try to predict how the stress changes resulting from the
7.0-magnitude quake which struck Tuesday is affecting the adjacent segments of the fault.
"This fault system is hundreds of kilometres long and the segment that ruptured to form this ear quake is only 80
kilometres long," Mann said in a telephone interview.
"There are many more segments which are building up strain where there haven't been earthquakes for hundreds of
"Potentially any one of these segments could cause an earthquake similar to that which happened in Haiti."
There are, thankfully, only two major population centres along the fault: Port-au-Prince and Kingston, Jamaica.