1356 Basel earthquake

1356 Basel earthquake

The Basel earthquake of 1356, also known as the Great Basel Earthquake, is the most significant seismological event to have occurred in Central Europe in recorded history. The earthquake destroyed the town of Basel, Switzerland, on 18 October 1356 and caused much destruction in a vast region extending into France and Germany.

The epicentre was in Germany, in the Upper Rhine valley (Rhine rift) between Waldkirch and St. Peter in Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald.

The earthquake could be felt as far away as Zürich, Konstanz and even in Île-de-France. The maximum seismic intensity registered on the MSK scale was of IX–X. Notably, the macroseismic map was established on the basis of damages reported by the region's 30 to 40 castles. [Mayer-Rosa D. et B. Cadiot (1979). A review of the 1356 Basel earthquake: basic data, "Tectonophysics", 53, pp. 325–333.] Lambert J., Winter T., Dewez T. J. B. et P. Sabourault (2005). New hypotheses on the maximum damage area of the 1356 Basel earthquake (Switzerland), "Quaternary Science Reviews", 24, pp. 383–401.PDFlink| [http://quake.usgs.gov/research/deformation/modeling/papers/thomas_abstracts/Lambertetal_QSR2004.pdf] |1.26 MiB ] From this macroseismic data, the Mw magnitude of the earthquake is estimated at around 6.2.

The earthquake took place in the evening at around 22:00 (local time) and numerous aftershocks followed during the night between October 18–19. [Von Waltenkofen K. (1357). Alphabetum Narrationum.] Basel experienced a second, very violent shock in the middle of the night. The town within the ramparts was destroyed by a fire when torches and candles falling to the floor set the wooden houses ablaze. The number of deaths within the town of Basel alone is estimated at 300.

The seismic crisis lasted a year. The modeling of the macroseismic data suggests that the earthquake's source had an East-West orientation, a direction corresponding with the overlapping faults on the Jura Front. [Meyer, B., Lacassin, R., Brulhet, J., Mouroux, B., 1994. The Basel 1356 earthquake: which fault produced it? Terra Nova 6, 54–63.] On the other hand, recent paleoseismologic studies attribute instead the cause of this earthquake to a normal fault, oriented NNE-SSW and south of the town. [Meghraoui M., Delouis B., Ferry M., Giardini D., Huggenberger P., Spottke I. et M. Granet (2001). Active Normal Faulting in the Upper Rhine Graben and Paleoseismic Identification of the 1356 Basel Earthquake. "Science", 293, pp. 2070–2073. [http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1010618 doi: 10.1126/science.1010618] ] The significant magnitude of the event suggests a possible extension of this fault under the town itself.

This earthquake is also known as the 'Séisme de la Saint-Luc', as 18 October is the feast day of Saint Luke the Evangelist.

Footnotes

ources

External links

*The [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02338a.htm Catholic Encyclopedia article on the Diocese of Basel] mentions the earthquake.
*Das [http://www.burgenlexikon.eu/513.html Grosse Beben von Basel im Jahr 1356]


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