The Deep Heat Mining Project in Basel, which was terminated in 2009, was seismically monitored right from the outset. In April 2017, the Swiss Seismological Service (SED) stepped up the seismic monitoring of the associated borehole, Basel-1, following a comprehensive scientific investigation which showed that the increased earthquake activity observed since May 2012 can most probably be reduced in the long term by opening the borehole.
In March 2017, in consultation with the Basel Industrial Works (IWB), the Department of Health of the Canton of Basel-Stadt decided to re-open Basel-1. IWB will open the borehole in the summer of 2017 (see the press release issued by the canton). The process will entail slowly and gradually lowering the borehole pressure and then keeping the borehole open for several months to also reduce the pore pressure in the plutonic rock in the vicinity of the borehole.
With the support of IWB, the SED has stepped up its seismic monitoring on behalf of the Canton of Basel-Stadt. In addition to routine seismic monitoring, the SED conducts a very thorough daily search for earthquakes near the borehole and automatically transmits the results to the Canton and IWB. These earthquake notifications form the basis of the traffic-light system defined by IWB, which is an important measure for reducing earthquake risk. All detected earthquakes are immediately published on the "List of Earthquakes" page.
Click here for more detailed background information on seismic activity and the progress made in the project.