In this video from NOVA scienceNOW: “What's the Next Big Thing?” learn how geophysicist Eric Calais and his team were able to forecast a magnitude 7.2 earthquake in Haiti several years before a magnitude 7.0 struck the region. Using global positioning system (GPS) technology, Calais measures the speed of the tectonic plates on either side of the Enriquillo fault. Using the speed of the two plates and the number of years since the last big earthquake on the fault, he calculates how many meters of motion could be released during an earthquake. Because scientists are unable to measure forces deep inside the Earth, it was impossible for Calais to predict when the earthquake would occur.
This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.
Visit the program page here.