Earthquake Catalogues

The SED compiles the earthquake catalogue for Switzerland and surrounding regions, spanning historical events dating back to AD250 to events occurring only minutes ago. The quality and reliability of the information in the earthquake catalogue varies hugely depending of the date of the event.

Historical events are only roughly understood, information gathered from geological observations.

Up until to the mid 1970s, events can be located and magnitudes determined by analysing ‘macroseismic’ intensities derived from descriptions of the events in the literature, and more recently, by information from the epicentral region directly solicited by the SED.

Since 1975, the earthquake catalogue is instrumental - meaning it is completely determined using the seismic network infrastructure operated at the SED. As the network has become progressively more dense, with improved instrumentation (in particular more reliable timing) and improved computing resources, the earthquake locations and magnitudes have become more accurate, and the minimum magnitude threshold lowers.

The SED catalogue can be accessed through a variety of tools that are described below.

Access to the Earthquake Catalogue of Switzerland 2009 (ECOS-09) is provided through a dedicated portal. This catalogue provides historical macroseismic information for earthquakes in Switzerland and the surrounding region since 250AD together with earthquake parameters derived from instrumental recordings since 1975. The catalogue is static and was frozen in 2009, so it contains information until the end of 2008. ECOS-09 is the earthquake catalogue used for the 2015 version of the Swiss seismic hazard model

The always up-to-date SED event catalogue, from AD250 to today, is queryable using fdsnws-event. This service can be used by casual users to explore the catalogue using their browser, and more advanced users can embed this service into programming scripts.

More information is found on the FDSN Web Services section.

The always up-to-date SED event catalogue, as available from fdsnws-event, can also be explored using the basic portal pages dedicated to waveform access:

  • SED WebDC3 Waveform Portal: access to Swiss raw waveform datasets. Restricted data is also available on this portal, though a password is required. Email if you have reason to access these restricted datasets. The SED earthquake catalogue can be accessed and explored alongside other global earthquake catalogues.
  • EIDA Portal: access to European raw waveform datasets, including all open Swiss data. The SED catalogue can be accessed and explored alongside other global and European earthquake catalogues.
  • SED Strong-Motion Portal: for access to strong motion event data, with selections based on event date and magnitude, as well as peak ground motion parameters. Includes all events with M>2.5 since 1990 in the up-to-date SED event catalogue.
Snapshot from SED WebDC3 Waveform Portal for All Swiss Events > M3.0 since 2010
Earthquake Catalogues