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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.

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Help, the earth is shaking! What to do in case of an incident?

Felt Earthquakes in Switzerland

Local Time
Mag.
Location
Felt?
2024-06-21 04:09 2.6 Lago di Como I Probably not felt
2024-06-20 11:14 2.5 Imst A Probably not felt
2024-06-18 10:33 1.6 Leukerbad VS Probably not felt
2024-06-08 09:44 2.8 Arolla VS Slightly felt
2024-06-07 06:36 3.1 Annecy F Probably not felt
2024-06-04 02:34 4.4 Pragelpass GL/SZ Widely felt
2024-05-29 19:20 2.0 Zuoz GR Slightly felt

Latest Earthquakes

Local Time
Magnitude
Location
2024-06-21 07:02 1.3 Verbier VS
2024-06-21 04:44 1.6 Lago di Como I
2024-06-21 04:37 2.0 Lago di Como I
2024-06-21 04:09 2.6 Lago di Como I

Swiss Earthquakes Counter

since 01.01.2024 
000

Recent earthquakes magnitude 4.5 or greater

Time (UTC)
Mag.
Region
2024-06-21 06:07:58 4.7 Egypt
2024-06-16 17:24:53 4.6 Turkey
2024-06-12 20:06:01 4.5 Greece
2024-06-12 19:19:11 4.5 Dodecanese Islands, Greece
2024-06-09 05:41:37 4.6 Svalbard Region
2024-06-05 07:37:51 4.5 Turkey
2024-06-04 00:34:17 4.5 SWITZERLAND
2024-06-02 08:53:43 4.5 Southern Greece
2024-05-31 11:32:00 4.6 Jan Mayen Island Region
2024-05-23 14:57:39 4.5 Turkey
2024-05-16 10:10:53 4.9 Svalbard Region
2024-05-11 13:21:46 4.7 Armenia-Azerbaijan-Iran Border Region
2024-05-02 02:01:54 4.6 Greenland Sea
UTC Time
Magnitude
Location
2024-06-16 14:47:32 6.0 Near coast of Peru
2024-06-16 00:27:57 6.0 Balleny Islands region
2024-06-09 09:55:50 6.2 Pacific-Antarctic Ridge
2024-05-31 15:54:41 6.2 Kermadec Islands region
2024-05-31 15:46:10 6.3 Prince Edward Islands, South Africa, region
2024-05-26 20:47:09 6.6 Tonga Islands
2024-05-25 22:23:17 6.3 Vanuatu Islands
2024-05-19 09:35:25 6.0 Fox Islands, Aleutian Islands, United States
NEWS

2024-06-04

[Available in DE/FR] Verspürtes Beben im Sihltal (SZ)

Ein Beben der Magnitude 4.4 ereignete sich am Dienstag, 4. Juni 2024, um 2:34 Uhr (Ortszeit) im Sihltal (SZ), rund 12 km südöstlich von Einsiedeln in einer sehr geringen Tiefe von ungefähr einem Kilometer. Weil sich das Beben so nahe der Erdoberfläche ereignet hat, war es im Epizentralgebiet stark zu spüren, jedoch gemessen an seiner Stärke in einem vergleichsweise geringen Umkreis. Dies belegen die ungefähr 130 Verspürtmeldungen, die in der ersten halben Stunde nach dem Beben beim Schweizerischen Erdbebendienst (SED) an der ETH Zürich eingegangen sind und praktisch alle von einer Epizentralentfernung von weniger als 30 km kamen. Auch typisch für solch untiefe Beben ist, dass sie teilweise als Knall und weniger als Bodenerschütterung wahrgenommen werden. Bei einem Erdbeben dieser Stärke können vereinzelt kleinere Gebäudeschäden (z.B. Risse im Verputz) bei den verletzlichsten Gebäuden auftreten.

Es kann mit Nachbeben gerechnet werden. Solche Nachbeben treten üblicherweise nach stärkeren Beben auf, wobei die Häufigkeit und die Stärke dieser Ereignisse mit der Zeit abnimmt. Weitere Beben mit einer ähnlichen oder gar grösseren Magnitude wie das Beben um 2:34 sind zwar unwahrscheinlich, aber nicht auszuschliessen. Beben mit einer Magnitude von 4 oder mehr treten in der Schweiz im Schnitt alle ein bis zwei Jahre einmal auf. Das letzte Beben mit einer vergleichbaren Stärke (Magnitude 4.4) in dieser Region ereignete sich am 25. Oktober 2020 bei Elm (GL). Das letzte verspürte Beben im Kanton Schwyz ereignete sich am 4. März 2015 östlich der Kantonshauptstadt. Es hatte eine Magnitude von 2.8.

2024-05-28

New: list of mass movements now online

Switzerland's highly sensitive seismic network monitors tectonic movements around the clock. Earthquakes though are not the only cause of tremors. Explosions, sonic booms or mass movements such as landslides, rockfalls or mudslides can also be recognised in the seismic recordings once they reach a certain size. Over the past decades, the Swiss Seismological Service (SED) at ETH Zurich has been collecting many such mass movement events and now also publishes this information online in addition to the recorded data on earthquakes and explosions.

It is Sunday, 30 July 2023 in Bisisthal in the canton of Schwyz. Early in the morning, 150,000 cubic metres of rock came loose from the mountain. This was followed by another mass movement in the late afternoon, during which a mass of rock twice as large came crashing down.

Video recordings document this impressive event, but fortunately, no one was injured. However, the seismic stations also recorded the tremors caused by the landslide, even at distances well over 100 kilometres. In contrast to earthquakes, seismograms of mass movements are comparatively long-lasting and are characterised by a broad distribution of seismic energy. They also lack the clear, impulsive phase arrivals typical of earthquakes. This makes the exact location of a mass movement very uncertain using only the seismic information; it can deviate several kilometres from the true location. However, the origin time of mass movements can be determined to the second.

Only mass movement events that are clearly visible in the seismic data are listed in the newly published SED database. The list of events is therefore incomplete: smaller or slow-moving mass movements or those that occur in areas with poor coverage of the seismic network are not detected. Furthermore, the identification of mass movements is carried out manually, so new events may only be added days after they occur. Some events are externally confirmed and indicated as ‘confirmed’ in the last column of the list. The magnitude is purely indicative and calculated using the scale defined for local Swiss earthquakes. The list of mass movements dates back to 2009 and will continue to be updated.

More information

List of mass movements

2024-05-21

Seismometers in schools record earthquakes

Taiwan is over 9,500 kilometres from Switzerland, much too far for even strong earthquake tremors to be felt here. Nevertheless, the major quake on 3 April 2024, with a magnitude of 7.4, did not go unnoticed: waves from the earthquake were recorded not only by the seismic network of the Swiss Seismological Service (SED) at ETH Zurich but also by 17 Raspberry Shake seismometers installed at Swiss schools. These are small portable devices, each with three high-precision sensors (geophones) and an digitaliser. They were installed at the start of this year as part of the Seismo@School project. The SED is leading the project in close collaboration with the University of Lausanne (UNIL) and the Centre Pédagogique Prévention Séisme (CPPS) in Sion. The aim is to raise pupils' awareness of earthquakes, promote the STEM subjects and strengthen collaboration between educational and scientific institutions.

Hands-on earthquake research in the classroom 

Since they were installed, the seismometers at cantonal schools and high schools have been continuously recording the earth's movements. That also includes the tremors from local quakes such as the one on 27 February near Saignelégier (canton of Jura) with a magnitude of 3.4. Students can access the data recorded on their own devices as well as over 2,000 Raspberry Shake seismometers installed worldwide in real time via the Raspberry Shake website. The data is presented in an easy-to-understand way, making it easy to pinpoint the epicentre of an earthquake, for example, as part of a lesson. This allows pupils to gain practical insights into the world of earthquake research and deepen their understanding of various seismological concepts.

The Seismo@School programme

The Seismo@School initiative has its origins in a programme launched by the University of Lausanne and HES-SO Valais-Wallis in recent years, in which 22 schools in the cantons of Valais and Vaud are involved. Thanks to a two-year AGORA project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) entitled "Increasing earthquake awareness in Switzerland", the SED has now been able to extend this programme to the whole of Switzerland.

The long-term vision of the project is a Switzerland-wide Seismo@School programme that includes multilingual teaching materials, regular activities for teachers and international partnerships. This initiative is a major step in promoting earthquake preparedness and knowledge among young people, which will ultimately help ensure that society is better able to cope with earthquakes in the future.

Resources for teachers

In the coming months, the Seismo@School team will be developing, and making freely available, school materials covering specific seismology topics: earthquake hazard and risk, induced seismicity, misinformation and media literacy, and earthquake measurement and localisation. From spring semester 2025, geography teachers will also be offered an annual training day on the new teaching materials. There is also a digital learning hub "CoP Geography" on Microsoft Teams, where teachers can network and share helpful materials. Interested teachers can email the Seismo@School project team at: seismo_at_school[at]sed.ethz.ch.

For additional information

Project description
CPPS project web page: www.cpps-vs.ch/seismo-at-school

 

2024-05-14

Seismic monitoring of the geothermal project in Haute-Sorne (canton of Jura)

Drilling work ahead of the planned deep geothermal project in Haute-Sorne (canton of Jura) will begin in the next few days. The Swiss Seismological Service (SED) at ETH Zurich has consolidated its local measuring system to provide independent baseline seismic monitoring on behalf of the Canton of Jura, thus contributing to a better understanding of local, natural seismicity even before the project gets under way.

Starting with the exploration phase (installation of the drilling site, sinking of the borehole, test stimulations), baseline monitoring will help to detect any earthquakes near the project site and make it possible to distinguish between natural earthquakes and those caused by the project. The SED will publish the recorded data in real time at this page, providing the Canton, the public, the media and also the project operator with up-to-date information. In addition, the SED will alert the Canton and the operator immediately in the event of earthquakes near the project site.

This baseline monitoring will be of most use in the geothermal project's exploration and stimulation phase (not yet authorized). In the enhanced geothermal system (EGS) solution that will be rolled out in Haute-Sorne, the permeability of existing crack networks in the geological underground will be increased by injecting highly pressurised water to trigger a large number of small earthquakes. While EGS projects are already contributing to heat and energy generation in some places, they have also triggered felt earthquakes in others. In fact, there was one case where it has been suggested that these earthquakes were strong enough to cause substantial damage (see news article on the earthquake in Pohang, South Korea).

In Haute-Sorne, the operater Geo-Energie Jura wants to prevent felt or even damaging earthquakes from occurring with a comprehensive risk analysis, continuously updated models based on newly acquired data and its patented, multi-stage stimulation method. It plans, as part of this process, to stimulate only a limited volume of rock at a time in a number of separate stimulation phases and to gradually create a geothermal reservoir of the appropriate size. This procedure differs from the one-step, mass stimulation strategy adopted, for example, for the EGS projects in Basel in 2006 and Pohang in 2017. The multi-stage stimulation solution has already been successfully tested on a smaller scale in ETH Zurich's BedrettoLab. While there is some risk of felt earthquakes during the Haute-Sorne project's subsequent construction phase (hydraulic stimulation), these are very unlikely to occur during the drilling phase that is about to start. According to the operator, the first test stimulation is not planned to take place until winter 2024/2025.

The baseline monitoring provided by the SED is regulated by an agreement with the Canton of Jura and funded by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy-financed GEOBEST2020+ project. Alongside this baseline monitoring, Geo-Energie Jura operates its own stations to locate even smaller earthquakes, particularly during the stimulation phase, and so monitor the development of the geothermal reservoir. Although this phase is planned, it has not yet been authorized.

Further information on the seismic monitoring of the Haute-Sorne geothermal project can be found on the following pages:

Project overview

Natural seismicity in the region

Seismic monitoring

List of earthquakes

Real-time seismograms

TOPICS

Earthquake

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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Help, the Earth Is Shaking!

Knowledge

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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Earthquake Country Switzerland

Alerting

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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Always Informed

Knowledge

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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Earthquake Hazard

Research & Teaching

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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Fields of Research

About Us

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.

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Swiss Seismological Service (SED)

Earthquakes

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.

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Earthquake Monitoring

Research and Teaching

Products and Software

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

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Products and Software