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Swiss Seismological Service (SED)

The Swiss Seismological Service (SED) at ETH Zurich is the federal agency for earthquakes. Its activities are integrated in the federal action plan for earthquake mitigation.

Latest Earthquakes Switzerland

Felt Earthquakes in Switzerland

Local Time
Mag.
Location
Felt?
2022-01-21 10:04 2.5 Imst A Probably not felt
2022-01-04 01:38 3.2 Porrentruy JU Slightly felt
2021-12-30 08:43 2.5 Arolla VS Probably not felt

Latest Earthquakes

Local Time
Magnitude
Location
2022-01-26 13:47 1.1 Oberwald VS
2022-01-26 13:36 1.7 Jaun FR
2022-01-26 04:46 1.1 Elm GL
2022-01-26 02:11 1.1 Elm GL

Swiss Earthquakes Counter

since 01.01.2022 
000

Earthquake Map of Europe, last 90 days, Mag. 4.5+

Recent earthquakes magnitude 4.5 or greater

Time (UTC)
Mag.
Region
2022-01-23 00:45:20 4.7 Crete, Greece
2022-01-22 19:31:43 4.7 Turkey
2022-01-19 06:05:37 4.6 Northern and central Iran
2022-01-18 13:45:17 4.6 Canary Islands, Spain r
2022-01-17 23:28:56 5.0 CENTRAL TURKEY
2022-01-16 22:31:59 4.5 AEGEAN SEA
2022-01-16 12:26:18 4.6 AEGEAN SEA
2022-01-16 11:48:05 5.3 AEGEAN SEA
2022-01-16 04:25:32 4.6 Southern Iran
2022-01-16 02:49:21 4.8 Southern Iran
2022-01-14 21:37:56 4.7 Albania
2022-01-11 17:44:09 4.5 GREECE
2022-01-11 15:14:30 4.7 Greece

Earthquake Map of the world, last 90 days, Mag. >= 5.5

Recent earthquakes magnitude 6 or greater

UTC Time
Magnitude
Location
2022-01-25 01:24:33 6.0 South Sandwich Islands region
2022-01-22 05:17:06 6.2 Fox Islands, Aleutian Islands, United States
2022-01-22 02:26:13 6.0 Talaud Islands, Indonesia
2022-01-21 16:08:37 6.3 Shikoku, Japan
2022-01-16 12:52:10 6.1 Bougainville - Solomon Islands region
2022-01-14 09:05:43 6.6 SUNDA STRAIT, INDONESIA
2022-01-14 09:05:42 6.6 Sunda Strait, Indonesia
2022-01-11 12:39:31 6.6 Fox Islands, Aleutian Islands, United States
NEWS

2022-01-26

Earthquakes in Switzerland in 2021

Last year, the Swiss Seismological Service (SED) at ETH Zurich recorded just over 1,100 earthquakes in Switzerland and surrounding areas. This figure is slightly down on previous years, due in part to the fact that no major earthquake swarms occurred in 2021. At the same time, the number of quakes having a magnitude of 2.5 to 4.1 was above the long-term average.

Since 1975, an average of around one earthquake with a magnitude of 4.0 and above has occurred each year; 2021 saw a higher than average number of such quakes, with three striking in that year alone. The first quake at this magnitude shook the area around the Furka Pass on 1 July last year. Its impact was mainly felt to the north as far as Zurich and Schaffhausen, as evidenced by the more than 900 felt reports received. By contrast, the magnitude 4.1 earthquake that occurred on 5 October near Arolla (Valais) was reported by only a few people, almost exclusively within the canton itself. This quake was part of an earthquake sequence that became active again in September 2020. The same area had already experienced a similarly strong quake in 1996. In Valais, the earthquake swarms near Saint Léonard and the Sanetsch Pass continued to be active and also resulted in some noticeable quakes so did the one in canton of Vaud near Les Diablerets.

The third quake having a magnitude greater than 4.0 occurred on 25 December in the Ajoie region (Jura). It was primarily felt in the Jura, though there were some reports from the western Swiss Plateau as far as Lausanne, Bern, Lucerne and Zurich. The main quake with a magnitude of 4.1 was followed by two equally noticeable aftershocks having magnitudes of 3.5 and 3.2. While Valais is well known as an earthquake region, the Jura quakes make it clear that all of Switzerland is earthquake country. Although the last quake of this magnitude in the Ajoie region occurred more than a century ago, making them rather rare, they are not unexpected.

As a long-term average, 24 quakes with a magnitude of 2.5 or more occur in and around Switzerland each year. In 2021, this number was slightly higher (32). Felt reports from members of the public were received for 52 of these quakes, with 10 each eliciting observations from over 100 people. The SED received the most reports from the public (approx. 1,100) for the magnitude 2.8 and 3.2 earthquakes occurring near Bern on 3 February and 15 March, mainly owing to the high population density in the vicinity of the hypocentre. Quakes in adjoining parts of neighbouring countries are also significant for determining Switzerland's seismic hazard. An earthquake with a magnitude of 4.4 that hit Bergamo (Italy) on 18 December was felt mainly in Ticino and some parts of Valais, Grisons and Central Switzerland. The SED received around 1,000 reports about this quake.

In addition to natural earthquake activity, the SED's seismic network also records tremors triggered by humans. Though most of these are explosions, some are man-made earthquakes. Physically speaking, the latter are no different from natural quakes but there are reliable indicators as to whether a quake is man-made (e.g. its exact place of origin in the subsurface, the temporal and spatial correlation with the stress changes sparked by humans). As such, it is vital that these interventions be monitored through a dense network of seismic stations.

To this end, the SED has expanded its network at various sites in Switzerland. The SED currently supports the seismic monitoring of five deep geothermal projects in Switzerland as well as ETH Zurich's BedrettoLab. The SED also runs a condensed seismic network in northeastern Switzerland on behalf of Switzerland's National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste (Nagra) with a view to better understanding the subsurface and seismic activity at potential sites for final repositories of spent nuclear fuel. More than 200 stations throughout Switzerland continuously transmit their measurement data to the SED, making it possible to record all earthquakes having a magnitude of 1.5 and above – a value well below the perception threshold. In areas where it is particularly dense, the seismic network can record even smaller earthquakes.

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2022-01-18

Waves from Tonga volcanic eruption have already circled Earth twice

The massive submarine eruption of the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai volcano in the South Pacific on 15 January 2022 was registered by the seismic stations of the Swiss Seismological Service at ETH Zurich (SED). The volcanic explosion began at 05:14 Swiss time and generated seismic waves equivalent to a magnitude 5.8 earthquake. Seismic body waves reached the Swiss seismic network around 20 minutes later, having passed directly through the Earth. Body waves propagate at speeds of 5–10 km/second (36,000 km/h). Another 30 minutes later, seismic surface waves – which travel more slowly – also reached Switzerland. The Swiss network continued to record the Earth 'ringing' in normal mode for more than 12 hours after the surface waves had subsided. This is where the Earth vibrates at characteristic frequencies determined by its internal structure. These vibrations, with a period of approximately 4.5 minutes, were also observed after the eruption of the Philippine volcano Mount Pinatubo in 1991.

Such volcanic explosions also create pressure waves in the atmosphere, as described in this MeteoSwiss blog (in German). Infrasound waves, which have frequencies below the lower limit of human audibility (between approximately 15 Hz and 0.001 Hz), are only slightly attenuated in the atmosphere and can be measured over very long distances. Infrasound travels at a speed of around 1,200 km/h. These waves showed up clearly on the SED's highly sensitive broadband monitoring stations and on SED-operated infrasound sensors from around 20:30 Swiss time, a little over 15 hours after the seismic waves reached Switzerland. The dispersion of these infrasound waves (i.e. the way their propagation velocity depends on their frequency) can also be clearly seen, with low frequencies propagating slightly faster and arriving first, followed by progressively higher frequencies. An initial period of strong signals lasting a good two hours was caused by the waves that reached us directly. Around five hours later, the signals that propagated in the opposite direction can be seen, with significantly smaller amplitudes. Another spike was observed on the morning of 17 January as the waves circled the Earth for a second time. The infrasound signals caused a number of false seismic triggers during automatic data processing at the seismic monitoring stations.

2021-12-25

[available in FR/DE] Earthquake in the Ajoie region

[available in FR/DE] Earthquake in the Ajoie region

Le 25 décembre 2021, à une heure du matin, un tremblement de terre de magnitude 4.1 s’est produit à l’ouest de l’Ajoie, entre Damvant et Réclère, à une profondeur d’environ 6 km. Il a été ressenti largement dans le Jura, et sporadiquement dans le nord-ouest de la Suisse, jusque à Lausanne, Berne, Lucerne et à l’ouest du canton de Zurich. Aucun dégât n’est rapporté jusqu’à présent; d’une manière générale, il ne faut pas s’attendre à de dégâts sérieux pour un séisme d’une telle magnitude.

Depuis la nuit, plusieurs répliques ont été mesurées par le réseau du Service sismologique suisse à l’ETH de Zurich, dont une - avec une magnitude de 3.6 à 15:59 - a été assez forte pour être ressentie par la population locale. D’autres répliques, même perceptibles, ne peuvent être exclues.
La sismicité en Ajoie est relativement basse. Bien que plusieurs petites tremblements de terre y aient été enregistrés dans les décennies passées, celui de Noël est le plus fort depuis plus de 100 ans.

2021-12-22

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Looking back over the past year is always a very personal thing. This year, our mascot Seismorris brings you best wishes for the year ahead and gives you his personal take on the past 12 months.

"In 2021, I was always where the action was: sometimes above ground, sometimes below, in places near and far, by myself or with others – and, once again, most of those meetings took place virtually. Although this opened up new opportunities and allowed me to interact quickly and easily with colleagues from around the globe, I did appreciate my trips in the real world. These took me deep inside the earth's surface several times in 2021, where I got to follow experiments in the BedrettoLab and the Mont Terri rock laboratory. In Iceland, I supported two projects with a seismic measurement campaign, and I travelled several times to Mars to watch the seismometer there at work. I always enjoy meeting people at events such as Scientifica and Future Day, both of which were able to go ahead this year. Looking ahead to next year, I'm particularly excited about the seismic risk model for Switzerland, which the SED is developing in partnership with the Federal Office for the Environment and the Federal Office for Civil Protection. Of course, I also hope there will be no major tremors – even though I've been training hard so that I can run for cover!"


Merry Christmas

Seismorris, Swiss Seismological Service at ETH Zurich

TOPICS

Earthquake

Help, the Earth Is Shaking!

Help, the Earth Is Shaking!

Earthquakes are inevitable, but the damage they may be expected to cause can be mitigated in relatively simple ways. Find out the recommended behaviour before, during and after a powerful earthquake.

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Knowledge

Earthquake Country Switzerland

Earthquake Country Switzerland

Switzerland experiences between 1'000 and 1'500 earthquakes a year. Swiss citizens actually feel somewhere between 10 and 20 quakes a year, usually those with a magnitude of 2.5 or above. Based on the long-term average, 23 quakes with a magnitude of 2.5 or above occur every year. Find out more about the natural hazards with the greatest damage-causing potential in Switzerland.

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Alerting

Always Informed

Always Informed

If you want to be kept informed at all times, here you will find an overview of the various information services provided by the Swiss Seismological Service (SED).

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Knowledge

Earthquake Hazard

Earthquake Hazard

In Switzerland, earthquakes are the natural hazard with the greatest potential for causing damage. They cannot currently be prevented or reliably predicted. But, thanks to extensive research, much is now known about how often and how intensely the earth could shake at a given location in the future. Consult a variety of different maps using our interactive web tool to find out how likely certain earthquakes are in Switzerland.

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Research & Teaching

Fields of Research

Fields of Research

We are often asked what staff at the SED do when no earthquakes are occurring. The answer is they conduct research in a variety of fields, constituting SED's main scientific activities described in our research field section.

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About Us

Swiss Seismological Service (SED)

Swiss Seismological Service (SED)

The Swiss Seismological Service (SED) at ETH Zurich is the federal agency responsible for monitoring earthquakes in Switzerland and its neighboring countries and for assessing Switzerland’s seismic hazard. When an earthquake happens, the SED informs the public, authorities, and the media about the earthquake’s location, magnitude, and possible consequences. The activities of the SED are integrated in the federal action plan for earthquake mitigation.

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Earthquakes

Earthquake Monitoring

Earthquake Monitoring

Around 10 to 20 times a year you will hear or read about an earthquake occurring in Switzerland. However, the vast majority of quakes recorded by the SED go unnoticed by the general public because they fall below the threshold of human perception and can only be detected by sensitive measuring devices. The Swiss Seismological Service (SED) operates a network of more than 200 seismic stations across Switzerland.

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Research and Teaching

Products and Software

Products and Software

Go to our Products page for access to seismic data and various apps.

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