At the present time, earthquakes cannot be predicted. Nevertheless, a lot is known about where, why, and how often they occur. To make these aspects visible, the Swiss Seismological Service presented an extensive exhibition on the occasion of its 100th anniversary. It took place in the focusTerra museum in Zurich from September 6 to November 30, 2014.
Few may remember an earthquake that caused considerable damage in Switzerland. This is not surprising, seeing that the last major event took place nearly 70 years ago: in 1946, an earthquake of magnitude 5.8 shook Valais.
Even though big earthquakes have fortunately failed to occur in recent years, the ground under Switzerland is not lying dormant. This is demonstrated by the 1'000 to 1'500 tremors per year caused by local earthquakes that the Swiss Seismological Service at ETH Zurich records. Around ten of those are strong enough to be felt by the population.
These small earthquakes provide valuable information to determine, for example, the seismic hazard in Switzerland as accurately as possible. But the ground beneath our feet still holds many secrets. Discovering them and thus avoiding future damage is one of the main objectives of the Seismological Service. The exhibition "unforeSeeable – Earthquakes in Switzerland" offers insights into the multifaceted work involving the natural hazard with the highest damage potential in Switzerland, and guides visitors through the earthquake history of the country.
Click through the image gallery for an impression of the exhibition.