Earth's Quake "Hot Zones"

Seismograph registering Haiti earthquake, California Seismic Network, Pasadena, Calfornia, video still
AP
The island of Hispaniola, which Haiti shares with the Dominican Republic, sits atop two clashing tectonic plates, the North American and the Caribbean, leaving it ripe for a deadly quake of Tuesday's magnitude.

But Hispaniola is by no means the only hotspot for killer quakes, as Columbia University seismologist Dr. Arthur Lerner-Lam explained on "The Early Show Saturday Edition."

The temblor that rocked Haiti is being called "the big one" for that particular area, and it may be out of the woods for awhile, Lerner-Lee says, noting that, once a fault segment ruptures, it kind of re-sets the cycle, meaning it's unlikely to rupture again anytime soon. But there could be other places in that fault system, other segments that didn't rupture this time but could rupture soon. A calculation has to be done, so seismologists will look at this very closely over the next few months."

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Among the places around the world generally thought to be considerable risk are the northern Caribbean, the west coast of Central and South America toward Chile, Greece through the Middle East into Central and Western China, and, of course, California:


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