FROM a seismic point of view, Switzerland is part of the Mediterranean or Alpine-Himalayan geosyncline. Thus it experiences more earthquakes than the whole of northern Europe*. According to figures given by Montessus de Ballore, for every 100 earthquakes humanly felt per unit area in Italy, there are 86-1 in Switzerland and only 5-6 in France. Catalogues of Swiss earthquakes date from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and in 1755 Elie Bertrand published his “Relation Chronologique”. After the Viege earthquake of 1855, Otto Volger published a very detailed catalogue showing epicentres. In 1879 the Swiss Seismological Commission began to publish annually lists of earthquakes with intensities, description of effects, and geographical position. This was replaced in 1914 by the Swiss Seismological Service under Prof. E. Wanner, forming part of the Swiss Meteorological Institute at Zurich.

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TILLOTSON, E. EARTHQUAKES IN SWITZERLAND. Nature 157, 562–563 (1946) doi:10.1038/157562a0

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