Earthquakes pose greatest natural risk to Switzerland

Geneva, Sep 1 (IANS) The Swiss Seismological Service (SED) at ETH Zurich indicated on Tuesday that though moderate earthquakes occur on a regular basis in the country, “a strong or even catastrophic earthquake could also occur at anytime, anywhere in Switzerland”.

The fruit of 10 years of research, SED’s updated seismic hazard model, which replaces its outdated 2004 predecessor, will enhance the organisation’s predictor capabilities as well as its ability to assess hazard levels across the confederation, where some 500 earthquakes are recorded each year, Xinhua reported.

According to improved predictive models, new and more accurate data, and reviewed estimates based on historical sources, canton Valais remains the area with the highest hazard level in the country, followed by Basel, Graubunden, the St. Gallen Rhine Valley, and central Switzerland.

SED explained that theoretically however, a strong earthquake could occur in any of Switzerland’s twenty-six cantons and at any given time.

The most recent moderate earthquake to hit Switzerland dates back to three years ago, when a tremor with a magnitude of 4.2 on the Richter scale struck at 30 km below the earth’s surface in the vicinity of Zug.

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