Switzerland reported near-record number of earthquakes in 2023
The Swiss Seismological Service has confirmed that the alpine nation felt a near-record number of earthquakes in 2023. 1.500 quakes were reported across cities and cantons last year, with the strongest tremors being recorded in the mountains and border regions.
1.500 earthquakes reported in Switzerland in 2023
According to the service, created by ETH Zurich, there were approximately 1.500 measurable earthquakes in Switzerland in 2023. This is the second-highest number ever recorded in the country - the highest being in 2019 with 1.670.
The university noted that while the vast majority of earthquakes were too weak to be noticed by the general population, 28 individual events could likely be felt last year. The earthquakes were most common in areas near the borders of Germany, France and Italy, namely the regions around Singen, Sierentz and Courmayeur.
Magnitude 4,3 quake reported in Canton Jura
The biggest magnitude earthquake in Switzerland in 2023 was reported on March 22 in the Haute-Ajoie region of Canton Jura. On the day, the town of Réclère recorded a quake with a magnitude of 4,3 on the Richter scale, the strongest seismic activity in the region for 100 years.
However, while the tremors of the quake were felt as far afield as Lausanne, Bern, Lucerne and Zurich, an earthquake of 4,3 on the Richter scale is considered to be light. It is also nowhere near the strength of the more devastating earthquakes felt in Turkey and Syria in 2023 (7,3) and Japan in 2024 (7,6).
Earthquakes in Switzerland can potentially cause a lot of damage
Nevertheless, the service noted that while “major damaging earthquakes in Switzerland are becoming a distant memory…the impact of [Swiss] earthquakes on buildings and the associated financial and human losses can be very high.” In their overview, they noted that earthquakes cost Switzerland 11 to 44 billion francs in economic damage every 100 years and that “earthquakes are among the greatest risks facing Switzerland, along with pandemics and power shortages.”
For more information, check out the official press statement.