- Journal Article
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This report summarizes the seismicity in Switzerland and surrounding regions in the years 2017 and 2018. In 2017 and 2018, the Swiss Seismological Service detected and located 1227 and 955 earthquakes in the region under consideration, respectively. The strongest event in the analysed period was the ML 4.6 Urnerboden earthquake, which occurred in the border region of cantons Uri, Glarus and Schwyz on March 6, 2017. The event was the strongest earthquake within Switzerland since the ML 5.0 Vaz earthquake of 1991. Associated ground motions indicating intensity IV were reported in a radius up to about 50 km and locally approached intensity VI in the region close to the epicentre. Derived focal mechanisms and relative hypocentre relocations of the immediate aftershocks image a NNW–SSE striking sinistral strike-slip fault. Together with other past events in this region, the Urnerboden earthquake suggests the existence of a system of sub-parallel strike-slip faults, likely within in the uppermost crystalline basement of the eastern Aar Massif. A vigorous earthquake sequence occurred close to Château-d'Oex in the Préalpes-Romandes region in western Switzerland. With a magnitude of ML 4.3, the strongest earthquake of the sequence occurred on July 1, 2017. Focal mechanism and relative relocations of fore- and aftershocks image a NNE dipping normal fault in about 4 km depth. Two similarly oriented shallow normal-fault events occurred between subalpine Molasse and Préalpes units close to Châtel-St-Denis and St. Silvester in 2017/18. Together, these events indicate a domain of NE–SW oriented extensional to transtensional deformation along the Alpine Front between Lake Geneva in the west and the Fribourg Fault in the east. The structural complexity of the Fribourg Fault is revealed by an ML 2.9 earthquake near Tafers in 2018. The event images a NW–SE striking fault segment within the crystalline basement, which might be related to the Fribourg Fault Zone. Finally, the ML 2.8 Grenchen earthquake of 2017 provides a rare example of shallow thrust faulting along the Jura fold-and-thrust belt, indicating contraction in the northwestern Alpine foreland of Switzerland. Show more
Journal / seriesSwiss Journal of Geosciences
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