Saturday’s powerful earthquake in Haiti has killed hundreds. And the destruction comes just 11 years after a temblor killed tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people. Haiti sits near the intersection of two tectonic plates that make up the Earth’s crust. Earthquakes can occur when those plates move against each other and create friction. Haiti is also densely populated. Plus, many of its buildings are designed to withstand hurricanes — not earthquakes. Those buildings can survive strong winds but are vulnerable to collapse when the ground shakes.
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