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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?
2018-07-21 00:20 2.6 Zermatt VS Slightly felt

Latest Earthquakes

Local Time
Magnitude
Location
2018-08-15 12:29 0.8 Sanetschpass VS
2018-08-15 09:02 0.8 Mulhouse F
2018-08-15 04:48 1.0 Arolla VS
2018-08-15 04:43 0.7 Arolla VS
2018-08-15 04:11 0.5 BASEL
2018-08-15 00:30 0.4 Lenk im Simmental BE

Swiss Earthquakes Counter

since 01.01.2018 
000

Recent earthquakes magnitude 4.5 or greater

Time (UTC)
Mag.
Region
2018-08-14 21:48:31 4.6 6 km S Montecilfone (CB)
2018-08-11 15:38:34 5.1 ALBANIA
2018-08-11 13:15:50 4.5 ICELAND REGION
2018-08-11 05:54:48 5.3 JAN MAYEN ISLAND REGION
2018-08-09 18:50:12 4.5 GREENLAND SEA
2018-08-07 16:55:48 4.5 GREENLAND SEA
2018-08-07 13:57:09 5.4 GREENLAND SEA
2018-07-26 08:17:51 4.5 Dodecanese Islands, Greece
2018-07-24 19:58:31 4.5 IRAN-IRAQ BORDER REGION
2018-07-23 02:40:24 4.9 Turkey
2018-07-22 10:08:05 5.8 IRAQ
2018-07-22 10:07:31 5.8 WESTERN IRAN
2018-07-20 03:31:31 5.0 Poland

Recent earthquakes magnitude 6 or greater

UTC Time
Magnitude
Location
2018-08-14 03:29:53 6.1 South Sandwich Islands region
2018-08-12 21:15:02 6.0 Northern Alaska, United States
2018-08-12 14:58:54 6.4 Northern Alaska, United States
2018-08-10 18:12:04 6.1 Kuril Islands
2018-08-05 11:46:38 6.9 Sumbawa, Indonesia, region
2018-07-28 22:47:38 6.4 Sumbawa, Indonesia, region
2018-07-28 17:07:23 6.0 Flores Sea
2018-07-22 21:22:36 6.5 Federated States of Micronesia region
NEWS

Earthquake struck the island of Lombok

On 29 July 2018, the Indonesian island Lombok was struck by an earthquake of magnitude 6.4. Several weaker earthquakes followed until an even stronger earthquake of magnitude 6.9 occurred on 5 August 2018. It caused heavy damage to buildings as well as infrastructure and claimed almost 100 lives. The shocks were also felt strongly in Bali and caused several damages. In principle, further possibly strong earthquakes have to be anticipated during the next days to months, and the possibility of an even stronger earthquake in the near future cannot be ruled out. The current earthquakes occured in a depth between 10 and 30 km; therefore, even weaker earthquakes with a magnitude of 5 or more might cause damages.

Indonesia sits atop the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’, a seismically highly active area that also includes countries such as Japan, the Philippines or New Zealand. Ninety percent of earthquakes worldwide occur along the Ring of Fire; therefore, Indonesia is subject to a high earthquake hazard. Despite the regional differences within the country, earthquakes as strong as the Lombok earthquake can occur anywhere at any given time. Such strong shocks can be expected to occur less frequently in areas that are less at risk, such as Lombok, than in high risk areas such as Sumatra; however, the possibility can never be fully ruled out.

People who would like to travel to Indonesia during the next days or months are recommended to refer to their travel agency or local accommodation for more information on the current situation. Travellers currently in Indonesia should follow the recommendations of the local authorities as well as the most recent developments on the news. You can find general tips on what to do before, during and after an earthquake abroad here.

More information:

USGS Information about 6.9 earthquake

Blog entry by Temblor

2018-07-18

Ready to head off for holiday... to an earthquake country?

Ready to head off for holiday... to an earthquake country?

The summer holidays are here at last. The accommodation is booked, the bags are packed and you're through airport security. What could possibly go wrong now? Many travellers are well prepared for holiday woes in the form of mosquito infestations, pickpockets or tropical heat. They have their mosquito spray to hand, took out insurance before they left and have booked an air-conditioned room. As for earthquakes, few would give them a second thought. Yet an earthquake, though much less common than the problems mentioned above, could seriously sour the holiday mood.

As with anything else, taking a few simple precautions could make all the difference. Before setting off, find out if your destination is in an area particularly prone to earthquakes (see Earthquake zones). Several of our most popular summer destinations, including Italy, Greece and Turkey, are in regions with a much higher earthquake risk than Switzerland. Other favourite destinations such as New Zealand, California and Bali are located along the Ring of Fire, a highly seismically active area where 90% of all earthquakes occur. If you are travelling to one of these areas, it may be worth taking on board the following tips.

As earthquakes occur without warning, it helps to know in advance what you should do if one does happen. The standard recommendation in Switzerland and elsewhere is: seek cover. That might be under a sturdy table or by holding a pillow over your head in bed. Many earthquake injuries are caused by falling objects such as shelf contents or ceiling or wall materials. If you run around in a panic during the quake, you are more likely to be hit by such objects. What's more, even keeping your balance can be difficult during a powerful earthquake, so you'll probably want to cling on to something that offers protection (the Director of the Seismological Service found this out for himself, as you can see in the next episode of Einstein to be broadcast on SRF).

However, as so often, there are exceptions to this rule. If you're near the sea, running inland is a better option due to the possibility of a subsequent tsunami. In Alaska, they have the following rule of thumb: if the quake is strong enough to almost knock you over, run up the nearest hill. Likewise, if you are indoors but very close to an exit, head outside. If you're already outside, stay there and keep away from buildings. Detailed recommendations on what to do can be found here. Essentially, the right action to take during an earthquake very much depends on the circumstances (the type of earthquake, the type of building, where you are, and so on).

This makes it difficult for seismologists to give general recommendations without causing undue anxiety. The most important protection against earthquakes is and will always be appropriate construction. However, judging how earthquake-resistant a building is just by looking at it is hard even for experts, so this is probably not something that you can take into account when choosing accommodation. That said, it's often the case that the newer a building is, the more likely it is to comply with the latest building standards and therefore to be earthquake-resistant. 

Once the tremors are over, heavily damaged buildings should be evacuated. While making your way outside, beware of falling objects such as bricks and tiles or disconnected power lines. Aftershocks, some of them strong, are likely to occur after a major quake, and these may cause further damage. In genaral, always follow the instructions of the local authorities.

Should you wish to take further precautions, this page lists recommendations for things you can do ahead of shorter or longer trips. All the information can also be downloaded as a fact sheet.

Last but not least, don't forget that, while earthquakes are real, the risk of being harmed by one is extremely small, even in seismically active areas. For example, if you're travelling to California, the risk is 1 in 1,000,0000 per year. Driving a car there is much more dangerous, with around a 1 in 11,428 chance of being involved in a serious accident. So the message is: make a few simple preparations and then enjoy your well-deserved holidays!

2018-05-16

[Available in DE /FR] Zwei Beben in der Nähe von Châtel-St-Denis

[Available in DE /FR] Zwei Beben in der Nähe von Châtel-St-Denis

Am Dienstag, dem 15. Mai 2018, hat sich um 17:30 Uhr (Lokalzeit) in der Nähe von Châtel-St-Denis (FR) in einer Tiefe von ungefähr 5 km ein erstes Erdbeben der Magnitude 3.1 ereignet.

Die Erschütterungen waren vorwiegend in der Umgebung von Châtel-St-Denis bis hin nach Vevey gut zu spüren. Da sich das Beben relativ nahe der Erdoberfläche ereignet hat, wurde es vor allem im Gebiet des Epizentrums relativ deutlich verspürt. Die Anzahl der Erdbebenmeldungen nahm entsprechend mit der Distanz ab. In den vergangenen Jahren haben sich in der Umgebung von Châtel-St-Denis keine grösseren Beben oder Erdbebenschwärme ereignet. Dies im Unterschied zum weiter östlich gelegenen Château-d’Oex, wo in den vergangenen Monaten zahlreiche Beben aufgetreten sind. Einen Zusammenhang zwischen dem Beben von Châtel-St-Denis und denjenigen von Château-d’Oex besteht aber nicht. Bei einem Beben dieser Stärke sind keine Schäden zu erwarten.

Am Mittwoch, dem 16. Mai 2018, hat sich um 11:32 Uhr ein zweites Beben ereignet. Die Magnitude war mit 2.9 leicht schwächer. Das Epizentrum dieses Bebens liegt am selben Ort wie jenes des ersten (etwas 2 km südwestlich von Châtel-St-Denis). Das zweite Beben ereignete sich aber vermutlich noch ein bisschen näher an der Erdoberfläche.

2018-05-05

Successful start to the InSight Mars mission

Successful start to the InSight Mars mission

On 5 May 2018, the NASA rocket carrying the InSight lander lifted off successfully. After initially heading south from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, after around 90 minutes the InSight separated from the launch vehicle and headed off on its trajectory to Mars. After a voyage lasting a good six months and covering 485 million kilometres, the lander is scheduled to touch down on the Red Planet on 26 November 2018. InSight will be the first mission to take a look deep below the surface of Mars to study the planet's interior by measuring the planet's heat loss and recording marsquakes.

The InSight Lander will place a seismometer, dubbed SEIS (standing for Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure), on the surface of Mars. As soon as data gathered by SEIS arrive at ETH Zurich, seismologists from the Swiss Seismological Service (SED) and the Seismology and Geodynamics Group (SEG) will analyse them as part of their routine work. However, with just one seismometer in place, this will be no easy task. Unlike on Earth, where seismologists can rely on very many recording stations to precisely determine the origin of a tremor, on Mars there will be no addtional reference points. For this reason, special care will be taken to extract as much information as possible from even the weakest signals indicating possible marsquakes, meteorite impacts or even minor tornadoes. For this purpose, staff at the Marsquake Service will combine methods taken from the early days of seismology, when there were only a few seismometers on Earth, with modern analytic methods for locating seismic events.

It is hoped that the results of the InSight mission will provide insights into one of the fundamental questions of planetary and solar system research, giving us a better understanding of the processes that created the Earth-like planets of the inner solar system (including Earth) more than 4 billion years ago. 

Learn more about the InSight mission and related acitivites at ETH www.insight.ethz.ch

See what our Mars scientists are telling about the @NASAInSight mission

Watch the launch

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 precaution.

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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 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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