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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?
2018-02-01 02:47 4.1 Montafon A Widely felt

Latest Earthquakes

Local Time
Magnitude
Location
2018-02-18 09:34 0.9 Binn VS
2018-02-18 07:56 0.7 Singen D
2018-02-17 20:02 2.3 Lago d'Iseo I
2018-02-17 00:16 0.2 Graechen VS
2018-02-16 21:29 0.4 Sanetschpass VS
2018-02-16 07:25 0.6 Chamonix F

Swiss Earthquakes Counter

since 01.01.2018 
000

Recent earthquakes magnitude 4.5 or greater

Time (UTC)
Mag.
Region
2018-02-19 11:02:00 4.6 Iran-Iraq border region
2018-02-19 06:40:15 4.5 Iceland region
2018-02-19 06:32:26 4.5 Iceland region
2018-02-19 05:39:01 4.9 ICELAND REGION
2018-02-19 05:34:11 4.5 ICELAND REGION
2018-02-19 03:04:19 4.5 Iceland region
2018-02-17 14:31:08 4.8 United Kingdom
2018-02-12 03:08:30 4.8 FRANCE
2018-02-11 13:05:24 4.6 NW Balkan Region
2018-02-08 02:29:14 5.6 Greenland Sea
2018-02-03 12:53:12 4.6 Northwestern Balkan Peninsula
2018-01-30 19:24:21 4.9 ICELAND
2018-01-26 20:17:35 4.6 IRAN-IRAQ BORDER REGION

Recent earthquakes magnitude 6 or greater

UTC Time
Magnitude
Location
2018-02-16 23:39:42 7.2 Oaxaca, Mexico
2018-02-11 23:14:14 6.0 South of Mariana Islands
2018-02-06 15:50:43 6.4 Taiwan
2018-02-05 20:55:36 6.0 Mariana Islands region
2018-02-04 13:56:41 6.1 Taiwan
2018-02-02 11:37:53 6.0 Pacific-Antarctic Ridge
2018-02-01 11:05:50 6.0 Fiji Islands region
2018-01-31 07:07:00 6.1 Hindu Kush, Afghanistan, region
NEWS

2018-02-08

Using seismic measuring devices to record avalanches

Using seismic measuring devices to record avalanches

Avalanches pose a danger to mountain villages and snow sports enthusiasts. Some recent avalanches have provided important information for reliably assessing avalanche danger. However, since many avalanches fall at night or in uninhabited areas, there is often uncertainty about when they occurred and how many actually swept down into the valleys below. A joint project by the Swiss Seismological Service (SED) at the ETH Zurich and the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF) showed that seismic measurements could help determine such facts.

However, there were a number of difficulties to overcome. Unlike earthquakes, the signals associated with avalanches have neither a clear beginning nor distinct wave phases. This makes avalanche falls hard to detect using conventional seismic methods. Furthermore, signal quality suffers from the continuous motion of descending avalanches. So researchers at the SED developed a computer model that uses special methods to process these signals. The model was tested on more than 350 real avalanches recorded by the SLF above Davos in 2012.

The results are promising: the computer model automatically recorded over 90% of all avalanche falls. Fine-tuning their detection would necessitate deploying a higher number of sensors in a more sophisticated configuration. The SED, in collaboration with the SLF, now intends to further investigate this and thereby make an important contribution towards forecasting avalanche danger.

Publication: Heck, M., Hammer, C., van Herwijnen, A., Schweizer, J., and Fäh, D.: Automatic detection of snow avalanches in continuous seismic data using hidden Markov models, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 383-396, https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-18-383-2018, 2018.

2018-02-01

[Available in DE / FR] Erneutes Erdbeben bei Bludenz (A)

Am Donnerstag, den 1. Februar 2018, hat sich um 02:47 Uhr (Lokalzeit) ein Erdbeben der Magnitude 4.1 ca. 10 km östlich von Bludenz ereignet. Bludenz liegt am nördlichen Ende des Montafon-Tals im Bundesland Vorarlberg in Österreich. Das Erdbeben wurde nach ersten Analysen ziemlich nahe an der Oberfläche lokalisiert, die Tiefe ist aber aufgrund der Entfernung zu den nächsten Messstationen nur sehr unsicher zu bestimmen. Bei einem Erdbeben dieser Stärke sind kleinere Schäden in der Nähe des Epizentrums nicht auszuschliessen.

 

Gemäss den Berichten, welche auf unserer Webseite in der ersten Stunde nach dem Erdbeben eingegangen sind, war das Erdbeben auch in Liechtenstein und in weiten Teilen der (Ost-)Schweiz, insbesondere in den Kantonen St. Gallen und Graubünden deutlich spürbar. Schäden sind in der Schweiz keine zu erwarten.

Dies ist das zweite deutlich verspürte Beben im Silvretta-Gebirge innerhalb der letzten zwei Wochen. Schon am 17. Januar 2018 hatte sich 13 km östlich von Bludenz ein Erdbeben mit einer Magnitude von 4.1 ereignet, das in der Schweiz (vor allem in der Ostschweiz) deutlich verspürt wurde.

2018-01-25

Earthquakes in Switzerland in 2017: an overview

Seismic events in 2017 once again showed that Switzerland is an earthquake country. There were two widely felt earthquakes with magnitudes above 4 and hundreds of aftershocks. Furthermore, the Swiss Seismological Service (SED) at ETH Zurich recorded more small quakes than ever before. In all, some 1'230 earthquakes were registered in Switzerland and its neighbouring countries in 2017.

On 3 March 2017, Switzerland was shaken by the strongest earthquake in more than 10 years. The earthquake with a magnitude of 4.6 occurred near Urnerboden in the border area between Uri, Schwyz and Glarus. It was felt in many parts of Switzerland and caused some minor damage to buildings near the epicentre and 100 aftershocks. The last earthquake larger than this, with a magnitude of 4.9, occurred on 8 September 2005 near Vallorcine (France) just across the Swiss border close to Martigny (VS). A second widely felt earthquake in 2017 took place on 1 July near Château-d'Oex (VD). This earthquake had a magnitude of 4.3 and triggered approximately 240 aftershocks, some of which were also felt.

Overall, in 2017 the SED registered and located more events than ever before: around 1'230 earthquakes in Switzerland and its neighbouring countries. More than 700 of these were microearthquakes, with magnitudes of less than 1.0 to -0.4. Such earthquakes are becoming increasingly “visible” in some parts of the country thanks to the improvement of Switzerland's seismic measuring system, which is making an important contribution towards gaining a deeper understanding of the structures and processes in the country's subsurface. In 2017, 23 earthquakes occurred with magnitudes of 2.5 or higher, in line with the average for the past 42 years. The earthquake activity was concentrated mainly in the Valais, Grisons and the area along the Alpine front.

Furthermore, earthquakes were clearly felt last year by sections of the Swiss population near Vallorcine (France) on 20 March (magnitude 3.0), near Sion (VS) on 2 June and 5 August (with magnitudes of 3.3 and 2.4 respectively), as well as near Zug (ZG) on 21 November (magnitude 3.3).

Year-by-year fluctuations in earthquake frequency are normal and do not permit conclusive forecasts of future seismicity. As a rule, damaging earthquakes with a magnitude of 6 occur in Switzerland once in every 50 to 150 years. The probability of this occurring in 2018 is therefore about 1 percent.

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Past Annual Reports

2018-01-17

[Available in DE / FR] Erdbeben bei Bludenz (A) auch in der Schweiz deutlich verspürt

[Available in DE / FR] Erdbeben bei Bludenz (A) auch in der Schweiz deutlich verspürt

Am Mittwoch, 17. Januar 2018 hat sich um 20:07 Uhr (Lokalzeit) ein Erdbeben der Magnitude 4.1 13 km östlich von Bludenz (Vorarlberg, Österreich) ereignet. Bludenz ist das nördliche Ende des 39 km langen Montafon-Tals. Das Erdbeben war nach ersten Analysen ziemlich oberflächennah, die Tiefe ist aber aufgrund der Entfernung zu den nächsten Messstationen nur sehr unsicher zu bestimmen. Kleinere Schäden sind bei einem Erdbeben dieser Stärke in der Nähe des Epizentrums vereinzelt möglich.

Das Beben war auch in weiten Teilen der (Ost-)Schweiz, insbesondere im Raum St.Gallen (56 km Entfernung zum Epizentrum) deutlich spürbar.

Erdbeben sind im Silvretta-Gebirge keine Seltenheit. Bereits am 8. Januar 2018 hatte sich an der Grenze zwischen Vorarlberg und Tirol ein leichtes Erdbeben mit einer Magnitude von 2.9 ereignet, das in der Region schwach verspürt wurde.

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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