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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 precaution.

Felt Earthquakes in Switzerland

Local Time
Mag.
Location
Felt?
2017-09-20 03:43 2.5 Breil/Brigels GR Slightly felt
2017-09-14 21:16 2.5 CHATEAU-D'OEX VD Felt
2017-09-10 20:00 3.7 6 km N Morfasso (PC) Probably not felt
2017-09-08 07:46 1.6 Goeschenen UR Probably not felt
2017-09-06 14:22 3.8 Bolzano I Probably not felt
2017-09-06 14:22 3.8 Belluno I Probably not felt
2017-09-03 11:15 3.4 Lago di Garda I Probably not felt

Latest Earthquakes

Local Time
Magnitude
Location
2017-09-24 23:48 1.9 Binn VS
2017-09-24 13:22 1.2 Bourg-Saint-Pierre VS
2017-09-23 22:01 0.2 Chamonix F
2017-09-23 07:26 0.6 Chamonix F

Swiss Earthquakes Counter

since 01.01.2017 
000

Recent earthquakes magnitude 4.5 or greater

Time (UTC)
Mag.
Region
2017-09-22 04:20:21 4.5 NEAR THE COAST OF WESTERN TURKEY
2017-09-11 16:20:15 5.0 Greece
2017-09-08 06:32:12 4.7 Norwegian Sea
2017-09-01 16:48:33 5.0 EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN SEA
2017-08-27 23:14:59 4.5 NORTHWESTERN IRAN
2017-08-27 04:59:09 4.5 GREENLAND SEA
2017-08-24 09:14:11 4.6 Western Caucasus
2017-08-23 13:42:54 5.6 IRAN-IRAQ BORDER REGION
2017-08-21 14:44:56 4.5 Svalbard region
2017-08-18 10:18:46 4.5 IRAQ
2017-08-18 03:46:51 4.6 Crete, Greece
2017-08-16 15:53:28 4.8 Southern Greece
2017-08-15 14:50:52 4.8 NORTHERN ALGERIA

Recent earthquakes magnitude 6 or greater

UTC Time
Magnitude
Location
2017-09-23 12:53:02 6.1 Oaxaca, Mexico
2017-09-23 12:52:22 6.0 northern East Pacific Rise
2017-09-20 20:09:49 6.4 Vanuatu Islands
2017-09-20 16:37:16 6.1 Off east coast of Honshu, Japan
2017-09-20 01:43:30 6.1 Auckland Islands, New Zealand, region
2017-09-19 18:14:38 7.1 Central Mexico
2017-09-08 04:49:21 8.1 Near coast of Chiapas, Mexico
2017-09-07 17:26:49 6.1 Bonin Islands, Japan, region
NEWS

09/14/2017

[Available in DE] Mit SRF „Einstein“ im Epizentrum

Wenn das gesamte Mobiliar eines Wohnzimmers zu Bruch geht, sind auch gestandene Seismologen erschüttert. Beim geschilderten Erdbeben ist dank einer sorgfältigen Vorbereitung im Erdbebensimulator des CPPS nochmals alles gut ausgegangen, wie die SRF Sendung „Einstein“ zum Thema zeigt. Neben diesem erschütternden Erlebnis befasst sich die Sendung mit kurz- und längerfristigen Massnahmen, um die Auswirkungen von Erdbeben einzudämmen. Im Zentrum steht neben einer erdbebengerechten Bauweise die Erdbebenfrühwarnung. Ein solches Frühwarnsystem wird derzeit mit Unterstützung der DEZA vom Schweizerischen Erdbebendienst (SED) an der ETH Zürich in enger Zusammenarbeit mit den lokalen Partnerorganisationen in Nicaragua aufgebaut.

09/12/2017

Gearing up to Explore the Inner Life of Mars

Gearing up to Explore the Inner Life of Mars

The InSight Mars mission is planned to launch in spring 2018 and will place a seismometer on the surface of Mars six months later. Scientists at ETH Zurich from the Seismology and Geodynamics (SEG) group as well as the Swiss Seismological Service (SED) are participating in the Marsquake Service that will routinely detect and characterise seismic signals recorded by the sensor. The data will be used to explore the inner life of the planet.

However, with only one seismometer this is a very challenging task. In contrast to a seismic network on earth with numerous stations, additional reference points that constrain the origin of the signals registered is missing. In preparation of the mission, scientists with experience in earthquake location and characterisation problems are invited to share their knowledge by participating in a blind test.

Based on a synthetic dataset, we aim to improve the planned single station location methods to be used in the routine analysis of the martian dataset. The waveforms provided in the blind test mimic both the streams of data that will be available from InSight, as well as the expected level of tectonic and impact seismicity and the noise conditions on Mars. The test is 'blind' in the sense that the actual event catalogue is not provided to any participants, and the structural model used to generate the seismograms has been selected from a suite of 14 candidate models. In course of the blind test, we hope to learn from the methodologies proposed by the community. The blind test is described in detail in a recent publication in SRL (Clinton et al., 2017, Preparing for InSight: an invitation to participate in a blind test for Martian seismicity, Seism. Res. Letters, doi: 10.1785/0220170094).

The test officially opened on 1 August 2017 and registration will close on 1 October 2017. All participants must provide their event catalogues by 1 February 2018.  A website where interested parties can register and access seismic waveforms is available at http://blindtest.mars.ethz.ch.

All groups who contribute a catalogue to the blind test will be invited to be co-authors on a paper summarising methods and performance with respect to the true event catalogue that will then be released.

We encourage scientists and students, in teams of any size, to investigate the blind test dataset and we look forward to your participation!

09/08/2017

Earthquake off the coast of Mexico

A magnitude 8.1 earthquake struck in the Pacific Ocean, around 70 km from the coast of Mexico (state of Chiapas), at 6.49 a.m. (CET) on Friday, 8 September. According to the US Geological Survey, the earthquake originated at a depth of 70 km. The quake was felt in much of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Belize and Honduras. Given the earthquake's strength and depth and the epicentre's distance from the coast, the damage is likely to have been severe in coastal areas of Mexico and Guatemala. Widespread damage is to be expected in further inland too. Major earthquakes are a fairly frequent occurrence in Mexico and other Central American countries: over the last century, eight more earthquakes with a magnitude greater than 7.0 have occurred within a 250 km radius of this latest quake. The last destructive earthquake to hit Mexico was in 1985 and had a magnitude of 8. It caused over 10,000 fatalities.

The earthquake on Friday morning also triggered a tsunami warning. Tsunami waves of up to one metre high have been measured along the Mexican coast so far (www.tsunami.gov). However, there may well have been even larger waves at places not equipped with measuring instruments.

The Cocos Plate slides under the North American Plate off the Mexican coast, and the relative movement of the two plates generates considerable tension that is repeatedly discharged in the form of earthquakes. Initial assessments have classified this latest quake as a slip on a steeply dipping fracture surface (USGS, https://earthquake.usgs.gov/). Combined with the depth of the earthquake, this indicates that the earthquake did not occur directly on the boundary between the Cocos and North American Plates, but at a greater depth within the Cocos Plate.

The Mexico earthquake was registered by the SED's monitoring stations in Switzerland too, with the result that a minor, 1.6-magnitude quake in Göschenen (Canton of Uri) at 7.46 a.m. was automatically recorded as having a magnitude of 3.0. A manual appraisal soon identified this as a false alarm and the magnitude was corrected to 1.6. The automatically-calculated estimate was too high due to waves from the Mexico quake, which were still being registered in Switzerland one hour after the earthquake hit Central America. The Göschenen earthquake happened at the same time as the waves reached Switzerland, so the readings for it were excessively high.

Image on the left: Intensity map for the Mexico earthquake, showing a magnitude of 8.1 (USGS). Shaking reached a maximum intensity of VIII to IX on the Mexican coast. However, the earthquake also caused strong tremors in inland Mexico and in Guatemala. Image on the right: Surface waves from the magnitude-8.1 Mexico earthquake superimposed onto the waveforms for the magnitude-1.6 Göschenen earthquake. The Göschenen earthquake was automatically assigned the wrong magnitude (magnitude 3) as a result.

09/03/2017

Potential Nuclear Test in North Korea

Shortly after 03:30 coordinated universal time (UTC) on 3 September 2017, seismometers around the world recorded signals indicative of a powerful explosion near the North Korean nuclear testing site. The signals were also clearly picked up by the Swiss Seismological Service's DAVOX station at ETH Zurich, which is part of the international surveillance system run by the CTBTO (Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organisation). The CTBTO is the contract organisation implementing the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty) and operates a global monitoring network for detecting potential nuclear tests.

After a first preliminary analysis, the event was attributed a seismic magnitude of 6.3 (Mb). This makes it one magnitude higher than North Korea's previous nuclear test, conducted on 9 September 2016. The seismic data cannot tell us whether the recorded explosion was actually caused by a nuclear test or whether it involved the detonation of a hydrogen bomb or was the result of a conventional nuclear test.

The figure shows the seismograms of the powerful explosion recorded by the DAVOX station.
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 500 and 800 earthquakes a year, around 10 of which are powerful enough (with a magnitude of approximately 2.5 or higher) to be felt by the country's inhabitants. 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 precaution.

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Earthquakes

Earthquake Monitoring

Earthquake Monitoring

Around 10 times a year on average 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 150 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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