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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?
2021-03-21 18:37 3.7 Albstadt D Slightly felt
2021-03-15 14:27 3.2 Bern Widely felt

Latest Earthquakes

Local Time
Magnitude
Location
2021-04-13 06:18 0.9 Muellheim D
2021-04-13 03:50 2.0 Domodossola I
2021-04-12 02:15 0.7 Porrentruy JU
2021-04-10 01:50 1.6 Sion VS

Swiss Earthquakes Counter

since 01.01.2021 
000

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

Recent earthquakes magnitude 4.5 or greater

Time (UTC)
Mag.
Region
2021-04-13 20:28:04 5.1 DODECANESE IS.-TURKEY BORDER REG
2021-04-10 22:53:58 4.5 GREECE
2021-04-08 00:33:47 4.5 DODECANESE IS.-TURKEY BORDER REG
2021-04-06 15:12:25 5.3 IRAN-IRAQ BORDER REGION
2021-04-06 08:54:21 4.6 Northwestern Balkan Peninsula
2021-04-03 06:10:14 4.8 Central Mediterranean Sea
2021-04-01 14:33:33 4.8 Northern Algeria
2021-04-01 12:33:40 4.7 Dodecanese Islands, Greece
2021-04-01 12:33:18 4.7 EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN SEA
2021-03-30 16:25:01 4.7 Austria
2021-03-30 07:35:47 4.5 ADRIATIC SEA
2021-03-27 13:47:55 5.4 ADRIATIC SEA
2021-03-27 13:47:51 5.6 Adriatico Centrale (MARE)

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

Recent earthquakes magnitude 6 or greater

UTC Time
Magnitude
Location
2021-04-10 11:38:32 6.0 Near north coast of New Guinea, Papua New Guinea
2021-04-10 09:30:44 6.1 Celebes Sea
2021-04-10 07:00:17 6.0 Jawa, Indonesia
2021-04-07 09:53:28 6.0 Kermadec Islands region
2021-04-05 07:37:50 6.0 Off east coast of North Island, New Zealand
2021-04-03 01:16:39 6.6 East of South Sandwich Islands
2021-04-01 15:11:18 6.0 Fiji Islands region
2021-04-01 09:56:37 6.5 Kermadec Islands, New Zealand
NEWS

2021-04-06

After the storms: InSight detects large marsquakes

After the storms: InSight detects large marsquakes

NASA’s InSight mission detected two large marsquakes as summer emerges, the winds calm, and the dust settles. Now, after one Martian year (687 Earth days) the Marsquake Service led by ETH Zurich and operated by the Seismology and Geodynamics group and the Swiss Seismological Service is faster than ever at characterizing seismic activity on the red planet.

After several months of windy weather and dust storms, the atmosphere of Mars is becoming quiet again and the seismometer on the InSight lander started recording significant marsquakes. In early March, two new marsquakes with magnitudes of 3.3 and 3.1 were observed. Within 12 hours of the data arriving on Earth, researchers at the Marsquake Service at ETH Zurich determined the location, magnitude and, in one case, even the focal mechanism. This rapid result demonstrates that the whole chain of data recording, transmission, and analysis set-up by the InSight mission is functioning efficiently and rapidly. These moderately sized events recorded at over 1,200 km distance and by a single station (that would not even be observed by a similar station on Earth), are sufficient to confirm the emerging geological interpretation of the internal structure and surface tectonics of the red planet acquired over the past year on Mars.

Since the beginning of the Mars InSight mission on 26 November 2018, over 500 marsquakes have been recorded. With magnitudes between 1 and 4, these are small events compared to terrestrial earthquakes. Only a few of these marsquakes could be reliably located, determining both the direction and distance from the seismometer. The recently detected, larger marsquakes are located in Cerberus Fossae, a long graben system about 1,200 km from Elysium Planitia, where InSight landed. They have an extensional mechanism consistent with the regional tectonic setting showing that the Martian crust is still undergoing active deformation.

In the InSight mission, data recorded on Mars are relayed back to Earth in regular transmissions, often multiple times a day, via the NASA Deep Space Network. They are promptly compiled and controlled for quality by the Jet-Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in the U.S. and the National Centre for Space Studies (CNES) in France, and delivered to the Marsquake Service located at ETH Zurich in Switzerland. The Marsquake Service is responsible for the first analysis of the Mars data, with the goal of identifying marsquakes and releasing periodic marsquake catalogues – the starting point for further scientific investigations. This is a collaborative ground service operation that includes on-duty seismologists from ETH Zurich, Institut de physique du globe de Paris (IPGP), University of Bristol, and Imperial College London. At the start of the mission, the data recorded on Mars was full of surprises and difficult to decipher. After a full year of processing seismic data from Mars, the Marsquake Service is now able to fully characterise the signals within just a few hours after having been recorded on Mars. This performance is comparable to that achieved by modern seismic networks on the Earth.

Recognizing the successful performance of InSight, NASA has approved the extension of the mission for a second Martian year. Unfortunately, the red dust which characterises all the pictures of Mars is also accumulating on InSight’s solar panels, reducing the panel’s power production and raising concerns about the long-term operation of the mission.

To learn more about the NASA InSight mission visit www.insight.ethz.ch or https://mars.nasa.gov/insight/

Access the joint press release about the recent Marsquake.

2021-03-19

MLhc: a revised local magnitude for Switzerland

One of the most common ways to characterise an earthquake is by its magnitude, which quantifies the energy released during an earthquake, i.e. its strength. The larger the earthquake's magnitude, the more likely it becomes to feel the shaking. There are different types of magnitudes: for example, the local magnitude (ML, the Richter scale, for earthquakes recorded close-by), the body wave magnitude (mb, for earthquakes at large distances), the surface wave magnitude (MS, also for large distances) or the moment magnitude (Mw, for all earthquakes types). These different scales have been developed and modified over the last century, reflecting mainly our improving capability to monitor earthquakes of different sizes and at different distances. Common to all magnitude types is the fact that they can be calculated directly from the earthquake signals recorded by seismic stations. In order to better characterise earthquakes in Switzerland, the Swiss Seismological Service at the ETH Zurich (SED) has recently introduced a revised local magnitude (MLhc).

MLhc makes the routine computation of local magnitudes in Switzerland entirely consistent with the state-of-the-art of engineering seismology research at the SED, and allows optimal use of the high-density Swiss National Seismic Network. What does this mean exactly, and how does MLhc differ from the previous local magnitude we used?

Earthquakes are commonly characterised using the local magnitude (ML), originally introduced by Charles Richter in California in 1935. ML is often found to be region dependent. In 1984, Urs Kradolfer, a former scientist at SED, calibrated ML for Swiss earthquakes. His calculations were based on the recordings of the Swiss National Seismic Network, which comprised 23 stations at that time that recorded vertical ground motions only. At the turn of the century, Kradolfer’s model was later amended to take advantage of the next generation of 3-component digital broadband instruments in the upgraded Swiss National Seismic, in particular by using horizontal ground motion records (MLh).

In the last 20 years, the Swiss National Seismic network has grown significantly and now comprises more than 200 seismic stations, including over 100 high-quality strong-motion sensors. The SED is now routinely recording earthquakes at very close distances (15 to 20 km) to their focus in the ground (hypocenter), often with MLh much smaller than 2. Such close distances and small magnitudes are outside the calibration range of Kradolfer’s model. Another limitation of MLh is that station correction factors due to local soil conditions were not systematically used. However, this is crucial, particularly at strong-motion sites mostly installed in urban areas and often characterised by significant amplification of ground motions. When using MLh, seismologists had to reject station magnitudes from sites too close to the earthquake or with strong site amplifications. To cope with these drawbacks, the SED recently migrated to a revised local magnitude: "MLhc". The “c” stands for "corrected".

In summary, by design MLhc has been calibrated to provide magnitudes that are as similar as possible to MLh, yet with two considerable improvements that allow seismologists to use all stations collected in the network and provide more stable magnitudes, especially for small earthquakes:

  • First, it is calibrated using a much larger dataset including many records from very close to the hypocentre. Therefore, MLhc allows us to include stations at distances closer than 20 km from the hypocenter.
  • Second, the procedure to compute MLhc accounts for physics-based site amplification factors that are routinely calculated and updated by the SED, allowing us to use all stations regardless of site effects.

While for a simpler communication, the SED only uses the term "magnitude", the detailed information provided on the SED website always specify the earthquake magnitude type.

More information on the different magnitude types can be found here.

2021-03-15

[Available in DE/FR] Erdbeben bei Bern

Am Montag, dem 15. März 2021 hat sich um 14:27 Uhr (Lokalzeit) südlich von Bern in einer geringen Tiefe von rund 5 km ein Erdbeben der Magnitude 3.2 ereignet.

Die Erschütterungen waren vorwiegend im Grossraum Bern gut zu spüren. In der ersten Stunde nach dem Beben sind beim Erdbebendienst bereits mehrere Hundert Meldungen aus der Bevölkerung eingegangen. Bei einem Erdbeben dieser Stärke sind keine Schäden zu erwarten.

Am 3. Februar 2021 ereignete sich ungefähr 10 km nördlich des aktuellen Ereignisses ein kleineres Beben mit Magnitude 2.8, das in einem ähnlichen Gebiet verspürt wurde. Auch in der näheren Umgebung zum Erdbeben vom 15. März 2021 wurden bereits kleinere Erdbeben registriert, ein spürbares zuletzt am 6. Juni 2015 mit Magnitude 2.6. Zudem wird derzeit ein möglicher Zusammenhang mit einer Nord-Süd verlaufenden Struktur von Erdbeben südlich von Bern analysiert.

2021-02-07

[Available in DE/FR] Erdbeben bei Cornaux (NE)

Am Sonntag, dem 7. Februar 2021, ereignete sich um 10:37 Uhr (Ortszeit) nördlich von Cornaux in sehr geringer Tiefe ein Erdbeben der Stärke 2.9.

Die Erschütterungen waren in einem Radius von 5 km um das Epizentrum gut zu spüren, insbesondere in Cornaux, Cressier und Marin-Epagnier. Die sehr geringe Tiefe des Ereignisses erklärt, warum es in der Umgebung deutlich zu spüren war, aber keine Meldungen aus einer Entfernung von mehr als 6 km beim Schweizerischen Erdbebendienst an der ETH Zürich eingegangen sind. Bei einem Erdbeben dieser Stärke sind keine Schäden zu erwarten.

Das letzte von der Bevölkerung in dieser Region verspürte Erdbeben ereignete sich am 3. Februar 2003, sein Epizentrum lag 3 km südwestlich des heutigen Bebens.

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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