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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?
      2021-06-09 10:30 2.5 NEUCHATEL Felt
      2021-06-02 08:32 2.4 Mont-Cenis F Probably not felt
      2021-05-21 03:52 2.6 St-Aubin NE Felt

      Latest Earthquakes

      Local Time
      Magnitude
      Location
      2021-06-17 15:05 1.5 Elm GL
      2021-06-17 07:03 1.0 Liestal BL
      2021-06-16 23:48 1.3 Aosta I
      2021-06-16 20:30 1.9 Santa Maria GR

      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
      2021-06-09 02:36:28 4.5 CRETE, GREECE
      2021-06-08 03:59:51 4.6 NW Balkan Region
      2021-06-06 04:54:22 5.2 IRAN-IRAQ BORDER REGION
      2021-06-04 01:05:26 4.6 Crete, Greece
      2021-06-03 15:06:13 4.8 Greece
      2021-06-01 15:56:13 4.7 GREECE
      2021-05-29 02:17:18 4.5 Southern Iran
      2021-05-29 02:12:53 4.5 Southern Iran
      2021-05-28 20:35:49 4.9 Southern Iran
      2021-05-23 22:14:55 4.5 NORWEGIAN SEA
      2021-05-23 09:38:48 4.5 Southern Iran
      2021-05-21 11:52:18 4.7 Southern Iran
      2021-05-19 11:14:59 4.5 WESTERN TURKEY

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

      Recent earthquakes magnitude 6 or greater

      UTC Time
      Magnitude
      Location
      2021-06-03 10:09:55 6.1 Northern Molucca Sea
      2021-05-31 06:59:54 6.1 Central Alaska, United States
      2021-05-21 22:13:18 6.5 Fiji Islands region
      2021-05-21 18:04:13 7.3 Qinghai, China
      2021-05-21 13:48:37 6.1 Yunnan, China
      2021-05-19 00:42:19 6.7 Southern East Pacific Rise
      2021-05-14 06:33:07 6.7 Off west coast of northern Sumatera, Indonesia
      2021-05-13 23:58:14 6.0 Near east coast of eastern Honshu, Japan
      NEWS

      2021-06-09

      [Available in DE / FR] Erdbeben bei Neuenburg

      [Available in DE / FR] Erdbeben bei Neuenburg

      Am Mittwoch, den 9. Juni 2021, ereignete sich um 10:30 Uhr (Ortszeit) ein Erdbeben der Magnitude 2.4 in Neuenburg. Das Epizentrum lag n?rdlich des Bahnhofs. Das Beben ereignete sich in einer für Erdbeben sehr geringen Tiefe, in den obersten 1-2 km der Erdkruste. Es wurde daher trotz der eher niedrigen Magnitude in Neuenburg von zahlreichen Personen deutlich verspürt. Im Jahr 2021 traten in der Umgebung von  Neuenburg bereits mehrere solcher sehr flachen und deutlich verspürten Beben auf. Eines mit einer Magnitude von 2.9 ereignete sich im Februar und eines Ende Mai mit einer Magnitude von 2.6. Diese scheinbare H?ufung der Beben in der Region ist unserer Einsch?tzung nach voraussichtlich ein statistischer Zufall. Tektonisch liegt die Region rund um den Neuenburgersee an der Grenze zwischen Molassebecken und Juragebirge, einer Region innerhalb der Schweiz mit einer mittleren Erdbebengef?hrdung. Beben dieser Magnitude sind somit zwar seltener als etwa im Wallis, aber nicht ungew?hnlich und auch st?rkere bzw., Schadensbeben sind nicht auszuschliessen. Im Jahr 1876 gab es beispielsweise in der Region Neuenburg ein deutlich st?rkeres Beben mit einer Magnitude 4.5.

      2021-04-22

      On the trail of the 1946 earthquake – an interactive treasure hunt through Sion

      On the trail of the 1946 earthquake – an interactive treasure hunt through Sion

      Today, 22 April 2021, sees the launch of an interactive treasure hunt focusing on the 1946 earthquake. At 13 stations dotted around Sion's Old Town, visitors will be invited to play a series of games to find out more about the events back then and what they mean for us today. They'll be led on the hunt by Wallis, the seismograph mascot of the Pedagogical Centre for Earthquake Prevention (CPPS) in the canton of Valais ('Wallis' is German for 'Valais').

      All that people need to take part is a smartphone and the GuidiGO app, in which they can download the 'Earthquakes in 1946' tour. The treasure hunt is available in English, French and German and takes about two hours to complete.

      Why in Sion and why now? On 25 January 1946, the canton of Valais was hit by a magnitude 5.8 earthquake – the most recent earthquake in Switzerland to claim human lives. This year, 75 years on, a series of events is getting under way in Sion to commemorate the earthquake, highlight current scientific knowledge about the seismic hazard in Switzerland and raise public awareness of the risk. The treasure hunt was developed with the support of the Commune and Bourgeoisie (Citizens' Commune) of Sion, the Swiss Seismological Service (SED) at ETH Zurich and the HES-SO Valais-Wallis university of applied sciences.

      We hope that everyone who takes part enjoys the tour!

      For more information, visit: www.cpps-vs.ch/en-us/Earthquakes-1946

      Background information about the 1946 earthquake can be found here.

      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.

      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.

      Learn more

      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.

      Learn more

      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).

      Learn more

      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.

      Learn more

      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.

      Learn more

       

      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.

      Learn more

      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.

      Learn more

      Research and Teaching

      Products and Software

      Products and Software

      Go to our Products page for access to seismic data and various apps.

      Learn more

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