A massive earthquake devastated Haiti Tuesday, but scientists warned of such an event back in 2008.
Back at the 18th Caribbean Geological Conference in March 2008, five scientists warned the Enriquillo-Plaintain Garden fault zone presented a "a major seismic hazard" to Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which share the island of Hispaniola.
Tuesday's 7.0-magnitude quake occurred along that same fault line.
"We were concerned about it," Paul Mann, one of the paper's authors and a senior research scientist at the University of Texas' Institute for Geophysics, told CNN.
"The problem with these kinds of strikes is that they can remain quiescent - dormant - for hundreds of years. So it's hard to predict when they'll occur."
The quake struck at 4:53 p.m. Tuesday, centered just 10 miles west of Port-au-Prince at a depth of only 5 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey said. USGS geophysicist Kristin Marano called it the strongest earthquake since 1770 in what is now Haiti.
"Closeness to the surface is a major factor contributing to the severity of ground shaking caused by an earthquake of any given magnitude," Dr. David Rothery, a planetary scientist with in the U.K., told the BBC.
Haiti's lack of real construction standards - a byproduct of the country's widespread poverty and political instability - have only exacerbated the inevitable disaster's effects.
"Because the earthquake was so close to the capital city, because the city is so populated and because the country is so poor - the houses are not well-built - it could cause significant casualties," Jian Lin, one of the geologists who co-authored the 2008 paper, told CNN.
In November 2008, following the collapse of a school in Petionville, the mayor of Port-au-Prince estimated about 60 percent of buildings were shoddily built and unsafe in normal circumstances.
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