Department of Earth Sciences

Earthquake Seismology

Earthquake seismology at Uppsala University has a long history, which goes back to the installation of the first Nordic seismograph in 1904. With professor Markus Båth in the 1950's and 1960's, both the seismic network and the earthquake analysis developed to world leading positions. Today the Department of Earth Sciences maintains the Swedish National Seismic Netwotk (SNSN) which analyzes earthquakes in Sweden and worldwide with a state-of-the-art system of 65 stations. Earthquake research at the programme for Geophysics is to a large extent data driven and focuses on methodological development and specific geological targets. We have developed the data acquisition and analysis systems used in the Swedish and Icelandic seismic networks (the SIL-system), which very successfully analyses microearthquakes to below magnitude 0. The locations, focal mechanisms and underlying stress states are analyzed to understand why the earthquakes occur where they do. We investigate structures in the crust and mantle using various methods developed within areas of seismic tomography and surface wave analysis in order to understand processes such as mountain building and volcano development. In Sweden, our earthquake research is focused on understanding the mechanism of the large endglacial earthquakes (see photo) that occurred in northern Fennoscandia at the end of the last Ice Age, investigating the mechanisms behind the current intra-plate seismicity and investigations of the structure of the crust and upper mantle of the Baltic Shield. In Iceland we participate in research related to understanding and monitoring volcanoes, analyzing earthquakes which occur in geothermal systems and understanding the triggering of earthquakes during geothermal energy extraction.

Contact: Björn Lund

In Parvie Tjuona signs of Swedens largest earthquake, which occurred about 8000 years ago, are still clearly visible. Photo: Björn Lund