Did climate change cause Haiti quake?At the American Geophysical Union meeting late last month, University of Miami geologist Shimon Wdowinski argued that the devastating earthquake a year ago may have been caused by a combination of deforestation and hurricanes (H/T Treehugger). Climate change is spurring more, stronger hurricanes, which are fueled by warm ocean waters.
It works like this: Deforestation leaves hillsides vulnerable to erosion, which hurricanes deliver in spades. Haiti's hills have waned to a degree, says Wdowinski, that it could affect the stability of the Earth's crust.
The 2010 disaster stemmed from a vertical slippage, not the horizontal movements that most of the region's quakes entail, supporting the hypothesis that the movement was triggered by an imbalance created when eroded land mass was moved from the mountainous epicenter to the Leogane Delta.
Previous earthquakes in Taiwan have followed major storms in mountainous regions.
Just how bad is deforestation in Haiti? In some places 98 percent of the original forest is gone.