Haiti Earthquake

From msnbc.com and NBC News

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - A powerful earthquake hit the impoverished country of Haiti on Tuesday, collapsing the presidential palace and numerous other critical government buildings and raising fears of substantial casualties in what a witness called "a major, major disaster."

The earthquake had a magnitude of 7.0 and was centered about 10 miles west of the capital, Port-au-Prince, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It was followed by at least eight powerful aftershocks of magnitude 5.0 or greater, the USGS reported.

"People are out in the streets, crying, screaming, shouting," Karel Zelenka, director of the Catholic Relief Services office in Haiti told The Washington Post. "They see the extent of the damage," he said, but can do little to rescue people.

From the Globe and Mail Wednesday morning

One of the most powerful earthquakes to ever hit the region slammed impoverished Haiti, leaving the nation in chaos and the global community scrambling to assess the damage and bring aid.

Cinderblock slums collapsed in cascading layers of concrete and dust, government buildings were reduced to rubble and panicked crowds were left trapped, homeless or in the dark as night fell in areas with few emergency resources.

The 7.0 earthquake hit about 16 kilometres southwest of the densely populated capital Port-au-Prince in the late afternoon. Powerful aftershocks continued into the early hours of Wednesday morning, creating confusion on the ground and internationally as power and communication signals were knocked out across the country.

Reports said thousands were feared dead but it was impossible to assess the extensive damage. Reports came in that among the many buildings that came crashing to the ground, including a hospital in nearby PĂ©tionville that trapped people, screaming, beneath.

The International Federation of the Red Cross estimated that up to three million people have been affected by the powerful earthquake. Spokesman Paul Conneally told The Associated Press on Wednesday that it would take 24-48 hours before a clear picture emerges of the scale of the destruction.

The official geological agencies provided the details:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 21:53:09 UTC
Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 04:53:09 PM at epicenter
Location 18.451 N, 72.4 W
Depth 10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program
Distances 15 km (10 miles) SW of PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti

The GCP event was set for an 8 hour period beginning at 20:00 UTC, a little less than 2 hours befor the 7.0 temblor. The result is Chisquare 28307.741 on 28800 df, with p = 0.980 and Z = -2.060.

Haiti Earthquake

By the end of Jan 13, a day after the quake, it is still chaotic. The damage is immense, and by now there are some rough guesses being made about the loss of life, with suggestions of many 10's of thousands, possibly more than 100,000 people dead.

Our formal prediction includes 8 hours of time, in keeping with the majority of previous earthquake events, but given the magnitude of the event, it seems worthwhile to look at the context. In the next figure, 48 hours are shown, with the main temblor near the middle. The early part is shown in response to requests relating to unsettled feelings interpreted as possibly precognitive. As it happens, this part shows normal looking variation. This is the case also in the last part of the figure, which shows the 13th (UTC time) when the extent of the disaster was becoming more clear.

Haiti Earthquake

We take a different view of the data around the quake, plotting the average deviation of the eggs over time. The next figure shows the smoothed average (using a 2 hour window). The data show a large spike at the time of the main temblor. It has odds of about 100 to 1, assuming all parameters were prespecified. This is an exploratory analysis, so should not be interpreted as definitive, but the spike does have exquisite timing.

Haiti Earthquake

To provide longer context, pursuant to a suggestion by Dick Bierman, we look at 9 days, with the quake approximately centered. Bierman's CIRT model postulates time symmetry following the implications of mathematical physics in which the past and future are equally represented. Thus we might predict the anomalous structure in GCP data to show symmetry around the nominal event. The quake's main temblor is marked. (The current database includes several eggs that had not reported data at the time of the original analysis.)

Haiti Earthquake

It is important to keep in mind that we have only a tiny statistical effect, so that it is always hard to distinguish signal from noise. This means that every "success" might be largely driven by chance, and every "null" might include a real signal overwhelmed by noise. In the long run, a real effect can be identified only by patiently accumulating replications of similar analyses.

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