News of the WeekGeology

Swiss Scientists Trace 645-Year-Old Quake

Science  14 Sep 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5537, pp. 1970-1971
DOI: 10.1126/science.293.5537.1970b

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The nature of the 1356 earthquake in Basel, Switzerland--the largest historical seismic event in central Europe--has remained a mystery for 645 years. Now, on page 2070, researchers report that they have identified an active fault that may explain not only the 1356 earthquake but two earlier ones as well. The finding provides the first indication of how frequently such events shake the upper Rhine graben, the rift valley system to which Basel and its environs belong.