Earthquakes more numerous than average in Switzerland in 2020

Earthquakes more numerous than average in Switzerland in 2020
Earthquakes more numerous than average in Switzerland in 2020

In 2020, the Swiss Seismological Service recorded 1,400 earthquakes, the strongest occurring in October in the Glarus region (image: Swiss Seismological Service). Swiss Seismological Service sda-ats

This content was published on January 25, 2021 – 4:12 PM

January 25, 2021 – 4:12 PM

(Keystone-ATS)

In 2020, the earth trembled 1,400 times in Switzerland and the neighboring regions, a number slightly higher than normal, the Swiss Seismological Service communicated on Monday. One hundred and six were felt by the population.

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With a magnitude of 4.3, the strongest earthquake occurred on October 25 near Elm, in the Glarus region, said Monday the Swiss Seismological Service at the Polytechnic School of Zurich (ETHZ). It was partly felt as far as Ticino and Lake Constance and was followed by more than 250 aftershocks, some of which reached a magnitude of 3.9 on the Richter scale.

An earthquake with a magnitude of 3.1 had already occurred in the same fault system on May 26. It had been followed by dozens of aftershocks.

In total, the Glarus seismic sequence has caused more than 350 earthquakes and “contributes significantly to the number of earthquakes above the average observed in 2020”, according to the press release. No significant damage was recorded.

Croatian tremors felt in Switzerland

French-speaking Switzerland especially felt the earthquake with a magnitude of 3.8 that occurred near Vallorcine (F), in border Haute-Savoie. Ticino was shaken by earthquakes in Milan (magnitude 3.9), Italy, Bellinzona (TI) (2.9) and south of Arolla (VS) (3.5 ).

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The one, with a magnitude of 6.3, which hit Croatia on December 29, moved some high-rise buildings in Switzerland, 600 kilometers from the epicenter, assures the Swiss Seismological Service. Thirty reports have been recorded.

Out of a total of 1,400 earthquakes in Switzerland and the border areas in 2020, 106 were felt by the population. Seven tremors were each reported by more than 100 people. 2019 was also an exceptional year in this area: 1,670 earthquakes were recorded.

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The influence of the coronavirus

In addition to seismic waves, stations in Switzerland also measure “background noise”, originating from natural vibrations caused by wind or waves, for example, but also by human activities, such as automobile traffic or construction.

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The semi-containment of the spring resulted in “a significant reduction in this background noise”, notes the Swiss Seismological Service.

This period of calm is the longest on record. In mid-June, the noise increased again.

In Switzerland, the last strong earthquake – with a magnitude of 5.8 – took place in Valais on January 25, 1946. It left four victims, many injured and 3,500 buildings damaged.

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