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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?
2017-11-17 13:10 3.4 Mont-Cenis F Probably not felt
2017-11-03 19:15 3.7 Innsbruck A Slightly felt
2017-11-03 19:04 2.8 Sion VS Felt
2017-11-02 15:09 3.1 Sierre VS Felt
2017-10-31 05:59 3.1 Lago di Garda I Probably not felt
2017-10-27 03:09 3.3 Mont-Cenis F Probably not felt
2017-10-25 05:41 3.2 Mont-Cenis F Slightly felt

Latest Earthquakes

Local Time
Magnitude
Location
2017-11-18 14:09 0.1 Zinal VS
2017-11-18 07:16 0.8 Freiburg im Breisgau D
2017-11-18 04:33 2.3 Freiburg im Breisgau D
2017-11-17 22:14 0.4 Saas Fee VS

Swiss Earthquakes Counter

since 01.01.2017 
000

Recent earthquakes magnitude 4.5 or greater

Time (UTC)
Mag.
Region
2017-11-18 04:12:15 4.6 IRAN-IRAQ BORDER REGION
2017-11-15 19:48:01 5.1 AZERBAIJAN
2017-11-15 03:12:11 4.6 NORWEGIAN SEA
2017-11-14 01:08:50 4.5 IRAN-IRAQ BORDER REGION
2017-11-13 10:44:05 4.8 WESTERN IRAN
2017-11-13 09:19:44 4.6 Iran-Iraq Border Region
2017-11-13 09:19:28 4.8 Iran-Iraq border region
2017-11-13 08:28:51 4.6 Iran-Iraq border region
2017-11-13 05:04:25 4.5 Iran-Iraq border region
2017-11-13 04:28:05 5.0 IRAN-IRAQ BORDER REGION
2017-11-13 00:20:55 4.5 IRAN-IRAQ BORDER REGION
2017-11-12 22:31:00 4.5 Iran-Iraq border region
2017-11-12 21:33:22 4.5 Iran-Iraq border region

Recent earthquakes magnitude 6 or greater

UTC Time
Magnitude
Location
2017-11-17 22:34:19 6.3 Eastern Xizang-India border region
2017-11-13 02:28:24 6.5 Costa Rica
2017-11-12 18:18:17 7.2 IRAN-IRAQ BORDER REGION
2017-11-11 00:36:14 6.1 Ascension Island region
2017-11-09 07:42:12 6.0 Southeast of Honshu, Japan
2017-11-07 21:26:38 6.5 New Guinea, Papua New Guinea
2017-11-04 09:00:19 6.8 Tonga Islands
2017-11-01 05:09:00 6.0 Loyalty Islands
NEWS

2017-11-13

Severe earthquakes in the Iran-Iraq border region and in Costa Rica

A magnitude 7.3 earthquake occurred in the border region between Iran and Iraq, around 32 km south of Halabjah (220km northeast of Baghdad), at 6.18 p.m. (UTC, 9:48 p.m. Iran local time) on Sunday, 12 November. According to the US Geological Survey, the earthquake originated at a depth of approximately 23 km. The quake was strongly felt in both countries, as well as their close neighbours. Given the earthquake's magnitude and depth, severe and widespread damage is to be expected.

The earthquake occurred at the compressional boundary between the Arabian and Eurasian plates, where the Arabia plate is moving towards the north with respect to Eurasia at a rate of about 26 mm/yr. The shallow location of the event and the rupture mechanism are consistent with the plate boundary related structures in this region.

The extent of damage is currently difficult to estimate, given the remoteness of the affected area. However, due to the poor local building design, significant damage is expected. Half a day after the event media report already more than 300 fatalities.

A magnitude 4.3 earthquake occurred approximately one hour before the main event about 60 km southeast, which could be interpreted as a foreshock. Such foreshocks are known to sometime precede large events, however many of the large events occur without precursors. That a smaller event was actually a foreshock can only be determined in hindsight. In the meantime, several aftershocks have been reported, including a Magnitude 5.3 aftershock that hit 10 minutes after the mainshock. That event was large enough to further destabilize buildings damaged by the first event. The aftershocks, including strong ones, will continue for several weeks to months, possibly generating more damage.

In the night from Sunday to Monday, 13 November, at 2:28 a.m. (UTC) another large earthquake struck Costa Rica. The event had a magnitude of 6.5 and originated at a depth of approximately 20 km (US Geological Survey). The shaking was widely felt and potential damage to buildings is to be expected in the epicentral region. The earthquake has not triggered a tsunami warning. Costa Rica is located on a convergent plate boundary (subduction zone), where the Cocos Plate slides under the Caribbean Plate at a rate of approximately 9 cm/yr. The relative movement of the two plates generates considerable tension that is repeatedly discharged in the form of strong earthquakes with large damage potential. The most recent severe earthquake occurred in September 2012 with a magnitude of 7.6.

There is no connection between the events in the Iran-Iraq border region and in Costa Rica.

2017-11-03

[Available in DE / FR] Erneutes spürbares Erdbeben in der Region Sion/Sierre

[Available in DE / FR] Erneutes spürbares Erdbeben in der Region Sion/Sierre

Am Freitag, dem 3. November 2017 hat sich um 19:04 Uhr (Lokalzeit) 4 km nordöstlich von Sion (VS) in einer Tiefe von 8 km ein Erdbeben der Magnitude 2.8 ereignet.

Die Erschütterungen waren, wie beim Erdbeben vom 2. November 2017, vor allem im Gebiet zwischen Sion und Sierre für die Bevölkerung spürbar. Das Rhonetal ist aufgrund seiner Bodenbeschaffenheit (weiche Sedimente) bekannt für die deutliche Verstärkung von Erdbebenwellen. Aus diesem Grund sind zahlreiche Verspürtmeldungen von Anwohnern auf der Webseite des Erdbebendienstes eingegangen. Bei einem Erdbeben dieser Stärke sind keine Schäden zu erwarten.

Seit Juni 2015 sind im Wallis von der Bevölkerung grösstenteils unbemerkt zwei Erdbebensequenzen im Abstand von ungefähr 12 km aktiv. Dieses Beben gehört nun zur Sequenz, welche etwa 5 km nordöstlich von Sion aktiv ist, wobei das Beben vom 2. November zur Erdbebensequenz gehört, welche rund 6 km nördlich von Sierre activ ist.

2017-11-02

[Available in DE / FR] Spürbares Erdbeben bei Sierre

Am Donnerstag, dem 2. November 2017 hat sich um 15:09 Uhr (Lokalzeit) 4 km nördlich von Sierre (VS) in einer Tiefe von 3.5 km ein Erdbeben mit der Magnitude von 3.1 ereignet.

Die Erschütterungen waren vor allem im Gebiet zwischen Sion und Sierre für die Bevölkerung sehr gut spürbar. Das Rhonetal ist aufgrund seiner Bodenbeschaffenheit (weiche Sedimente) bekannt für die deutliche Verstärkung von Erdbebenwellen. Aus diesem Grund sind zahlreiche Verspürtmeldungen von Anwohnern auf der Webseite des Erdbebendienstes eingegangen. Bei einem Erdbeben dieser Stärke sind keine Schäden zu erwarten.

Das Wallis und im Speziellen die Region nördlich von Sion/Sierre hat die höchste Erdbebenaktivität in der Schweiz. In diesem Gebiet ereignete sich 1946 das letzte grosse Erdbeben in der Schweiz. Mit einer Magnitude von 5.8 hat es zahlreiche Schäden an Gebäuden in den damals noch weniger dicht besiedelten Städten Sion und Sierre verursacht.

Seit Juni 2015 sind im Wallis von der Bevölkerung grösstenteils unbemerkt zwei Erdbebensequenzen im Abstand von ungefähr 12 km aktiv. Eine ist etwa 5 km nordöstlich von Sion gelegen und die andere ungefähr 6 km nördlich von Sierre. Die Mehrheit der registrierten Beben ereignete sich in einer Tiefe von etwa 8 km und damit vermutlich im kristallinen Grundgebirge. Das Beben vom 2. November 2017 ist das zweite Beben der Sierre-Sequenz, das eine Magnitude von 3.1 erreicht. Das erste Beben mit gleicher Magnitude ereignete sich am 14. Oktober 2015 nördlich von Sierre.

Ein Blick in die Geschichte zeigt, dass dieses Gebiet bereits in der Vergangenheit ähnliche Aktivitätsraten aufwies. Im Sommer 1996 ereigneten sich beispielsweise gleich drei Beben mit einer Magnitude von 2.5 oder grösser. Auch 2011 wurde eine ähnliche Bebensequenz 2 km nordwestlich von Sierre beobachtet. Historische Analyse zeigen, dass solche Sequenzen im Wallis nichts Ungewöhnliches darstellen. In der Regel enden Schwarmaktivitäten nach einigen Wochen oder Monaten, in seltenen Fällen nehmen die Beben mit der Zeit an Stärke und Anzahl zu.

2017-10-04

Investigating tsunami hazard in Switzerland

Investigating tsunami hazard in Switzerland

Tsunamis are not limited to the ocean. On rare occasions, large flood waves also occur in lakes, including those in Switzerland. According to historical reports and investigations of lake sediments, a wave up to 8 m high swept across Lake Lucerne in 1601, resulting in widespread flooding. It was triggered by a magnitude 5.9 earthquake in the canton of Nidwalden, whose tremors caused several underwater landslides in Lake Lucerne and a rock avalanche on the Bürgenstock, which in turn triggered the tsunami. Tsunamis have also been recorded on Lake Geneva, Lake Brienz and Lake Lauerz (see Lake Tsunamis). 

A research project recently approved by the Swiss National Science Foundation aims to determine the risks posed by these rare events, what it takes to trigger lake tsunamis, how often they have occurred in the past, and the impact they create. As part of the project, scientists from ETH Zurich, the University of Bern and the University of Bremen's Centre for Marine Environmental Sciences (Marum) are planning to install nine ocean-bottom seismometers on the bed of Lake Lucerne. They will be the core equipment used to take seismic and geotechnical measurements of the lake sediments. Applications were also submitted to the Cantons of Lucerne, Nidwalden and Schwyz, but Lake Lucerne was chosen because of its location in a region of comparatively high seismic hazard and also because a lot is known about the lake bottom from previous research projects.

The plan is to place the measuring devices at various locations in the lake for a period of 22 months. The seismic data collected, combined with other measurement results, will be used to characterise the internal structure of slope instabilities, to better understand their slide mechanics and to model the generation and propagation of tsunami waves. Such a comprehensive investigation of hazard processes beneath the water surface is the first of its kind in Switzerland and its findings will help to improve the understanding of such processes around the world. The total cost of the project is CHF 2 million, much of which will be spent on the complex process of collecting the measurements.

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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