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 program for earthquake risk reduction.

Latest Earthquakes:  Switzerland /  World

Swiss Earthquake Map
Date/Time(CH)   Date/Time(UTC)   Mag Region
2016/09/25 06:23   2016/09/25 04:23   0.8 Goeschenen UR
2016/09/24 14:48   2016/09/24 12:48   1.2 CHAMPERY VS
2016/09/24 14:47   2016/09/24 12:47   1.3 CHAMPERY VS
2016/09/23 14:58   2016/09/23 12:58   0.9 Goeschenen UR
2016/09/22 12:07   2016/09/22 10:07   1.5 Vallorbe VD
2016/09/21 01:48   2016/09/20 23:48   1.1 Sion VS
2016/09/21 00:08   2016/09/20 22:08   0.4 Sion VS
2016/09/20 20:25   2016/09/20 18:25   0.9 Sion VS
2016/09/20 17:04   2016/09/20 15:04   1.5 Linthal GL
gesamte Liste der Erdbeben in Lokalzeit   gesamte Liste der Erdbeben in UTC Zeit
Earthquakes felt in Switzerland during the last 72 hours: None




The ISC Experiment: Deep Geothermal Energy and Induced Earthquakes

The “In-situ Stimulation and Circulation (ISC)” experiment, which is unique worldwide, is approaching its hot – or rather wet – phase. In December 2016, up to 1 m3 of water will be pumped into the crystalline rock under high pressure at the Grimsel rock laboratory by Nagra 450 meters below the surface of the earth, and the resulting changes will be accurately measured and analyzed in real time. Dr. Florian Amann and his interdisciplinary team want to find out how the rock permeability required for functioning deep thermal energy can be created without triggering noticeable and potentially damaging earthquakes. The experiment is being run by the Swiss Competence Center for the Supply of Electricity (SCCER-SoE).

The Swiss Seismological Service (SED) operates a number of earthquake monitoring stations in the Grimsel region, and supports the ISC experiment with seismic monitoring, the data analysis, and the interpretation of the results.

To find out more about the ISC experiment, please have a look at the TV, newspaper, and radio reports below.



Latest seismic signals from North Korea recorded in Switzerland  

Seismic waves most likely generated by a North Korean nuclear test on 9 September 2016 (00:30 UTC, 02:30 Swiss local time) reached the seismic monitoring stations in Switzerland approximately 12 minutes after the event occurred. Seismic waveforms are critical tools for discriminating between explosions and earthquakes. For an explosion, the amplitude of the first arriving P-wave is relatively stronger than the later arriving S-Wave, when compared to a typical earthquake.

The power of the explosion corresponds to an earthquake with magnitude of 5.3. The energy released from this explosion is about three times stronger than that from the largest previous tests on 6 January 2016 and 12 February 2013, which both reached a magnitude of about 5. Previous tests in 2006 and 2009 reached magnitude 4.1 and 4.5 respectively. According to reports from the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) in Vienna, the explosion of 9 September 2016 is in the direct vicinity of the previous North Korean nuclear tests in 2006, 2009, 2013 and January 2016.

The CTBTO operates a global observation network to monitor adherence to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. Around 90% of the 337 planned measuring stations, 170 of which include seismic sensors, are currently in operation. The SED operate the station DAVOX, near Davos in the canton of Graubünden, Switzerland, that is also part of this monitoring network. The graph depicts the nuclear-test signals recorded by the DAVOX station of the new event alongside the events of January 2016 and February 2013.

Further information from the CTBTO

Event summary from the USGS

General information about verification of nuclear test explosions from the SED



SUIhaz2015 Report

You can now find all of the background information on Switzerland’s seismic hazard model, which was published in September 2015, in the comprehensive SUIhaz2015 report. The report explains why Switzerland needs an up-to-date seismic hazard model and provides information about the potential strength of earthquakes and where they may occur in the future. Building on this information, the report documents how and under which assumptions the seismic hazard model was calculated, summarizes the main findings, and compares these to other models. It also provides information about the various products that are based on the results of SUIhaz2015. The report is in English and is primarily aimed at experts who base their work on Switzerland’s seismic hazard model.

Download the SUIhaz2015 Report

SUIhaz2015 fact sheet

“Seismic Hazard Switzerland” flyer



Earthquake Early Warning for Nicaragua

Earthquakes pose a major threat to Central American countries. Large Earthquakes in this region regularly occur offshore along the subduction zone and are prone to trigger tsunamis (such as in 1992 and in 2014), Additionally, shallow crustal earthquakes, occurring onshore, have in the recent past produced heavy damage, such as the magnitude 6.2 earthquake in 1972 that devastated the Nicaraguan capital city Managua.

The Swiss Seismological Service (SED) has recently begun a project to explore the potential of Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) in Central America. Funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) at the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), scientists at the SED are working with colleagues at INETER, the agency responsible for monitoring earthquakes in Nicaragua, to build and implement a prototype EEW system. The system will first be deployed in Nicaragua and hopefully extended to cover a wider region in Central America.

At the beginning of June, the SED visited INETER to evaluate the capability for EEW of the local seismic network and installed a first version of the EEW software. Days after, a shallow magnitude 6.3 event occurred on the border with El Salvador that was detected by our system after 29s. Even though, optimisation is required to speed up the system, the infrastructure shows promise. Next steps in the project include continuing analysis of the monitoring infrastructure in the region, and optimisiation of the EEW algorithms, in particular testing their suitability to operate in this challenging location, with seismicity from deep offshore as well as volcanic sources.



ShakeMap Sion

Earthquake sequence near Sion (VS) continues

Friday morning, June 21 at 6:12h (local time), an earthquake of magnitude 3.2 occurred at a depth of 8 km between the villages Grimisuat, Ayent and St. Léonard (VS). It was clearly felt in the city of Sion and in the neighboring villages: We have received about 300 felt reports on our website. No damage is expected for an earthquake of this size.

This earthquake is part of an earthquake swarm that started on June 20, 2015 with an event of magnitude 3.0. After a calm period, the sequence reactivated in May 10, 2016, and included a felt event of magnitude 2.9 on May 21 at 5:49h. This type of earthquake swarm is quite common for Switzerland. However, the further development of the sequence is not predictable: typically swarm activity usually end after a few weeks or months, though in rare cases the strength and number of the earthquakes increase over time.

  Timeline Sion


AlpArray Stations

How Do Mountains Form? New Monitoring Stations for AlpArray

AlpArray is a European initiative in order to advance our understanding of mountain building processes and create 3D images of the lithosphere and upper mantle. To achieve this, AlpArray establishes and operates a seismic monitoring network (AASN) that combines existing stations of 24 seismological observatories with eventually more than 250 new temporary stations in 12 countries covering the Alps, the Northern Apennines and their forelands.

The Swiss contribution to the AASN is now completed by having installed 27 temporary stations in Switzerland (3), Italy (12), Croatia (6), Bosnia and Herzegovina (3), and Hungary (3). All stations of the Swiss digital seismic network also contribute to the AASN. The Seismology and Geodynamics group (SEG) and the Swiss Seismological Service (SED) at ETH in Zurich take leading roles in this project.

Find out more about AlpArray on its website.

Read the interview and article about AlpArray on International Innovation.

Click here to read more about earthquakes and the Alps.


  Find previous "SED News" posts here.