Basel earthquake as envisioned by Karl Jauslin
|Local date||18 October 1356|
The 1356 Basel earthquake is the most significant seismological event to have occurred in Central Europe in recorded historyand had a moment magnitude in the range of 6.0–7.1. This earthquake, which occurred on 18 October 1356, is also known as the Séisme de la Saint-Luc (English: Earthquake of Saint Luke), as 18 October is the feast day of Saint Luke the Evangelist.
After a foreshock between 19:00 and 20:00 local time, the main earthquake struck in the evening at around 22:00, and numerous aftershocks followed through that night. 30 km (19 mi) radius of Basel were destroyed.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 is estimated at 300. All major churches and castles within a
The seismic crisis lasted a year. The modeling of the macroseismic datasuggests that the earthquake's source had an east–west orientation, a direction corresponding with the overlapping faults on the Jura Front. On the other hand, recent paleoseismologic studies attribute the cause of this earthquake to a normal fault, oriented NNE-SSW and south of the town. The significant magnitude of the event suggests a possible extension of this fault under the town.
Due to the limited records of the event, a variety of epicenters have been proposed for the earthquake. Some of the proposed locations include faults beneath the Jura Mountains or along the Basel-Reinach escarpment. 10 km (6.2 mi) south of Basel.Another study placed the epicenter
The earthquake was felt as far away as Zürich, Konstanz, and even in Île-de-France. The maximum intensity registered on the Medvedev–Sponheuer–Karnik scale was IX–X (Destructive–Devastating). The macroseismic map was established on the basis of damage reported by the region's 30 to 40 castles.
From this macroseismic data, various studies have been conducted to estimate the moment magnitude of the earthquake, which have resulted in various values of 6.2 (BRGM 1998);6.0 (GEO-TER 2002); 6.9 (SED 2004) with a follow-up report suggesting a range of between 6.7 and 7.1; 6.6 (GFZ 2006); and a major Swiss study by 21 European experts, with American involvement, in which four sub-groups estimated values of 6.9, 6.9, 6.5 to 6.9, and 6.5 ± 0.5 (PEGASOS 2002–2004). There are also different opinions about which faults were involved.
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The most damaging intraplate earthquake known to have occurred in central Europe
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