An unexpected treasure: 1700 handwritten pages of information on XIXth century earthquakes

An unexpected treasure: 1700 handwritten pages of information on XIXth century earthquakes


1700 handwritten pages of information on XIXth century earthquakes, this is the unexpected treasure discovered by scientists of the Royal Observatory of Belgium and the Cologne University in the record-office of Duisburg (Germany).

The original documents covering the German, Belgian and Dutch border region include letters and most astonishingly formal macroseismic questionnaires of the Prussian authorities that have not been used in any modern scientific study to date.

The announcement of this discovery and the first results of their analysis are published in Seismological Research Letters. The complete analysis of the 1700 pages would certainly increase the knowledge about the XIXth century seismicity if funding were found to support the research. A better understanding of the effect of past earthquakes is fundamental to mitigate the societal, industrial and economic impact of future earthquakes.

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À gauche : questionnaire macroséismique rempli par le bourgmestre de Niederzier. À droite :lettre de Düren décrivant les effets de l’important séisme survenu le 26 août 1878.

Référence : E. Knuts, K.‐G. Hinzen, S. K. Reamer and T. Camelbeeck, A Nineteenth‐Century National Prussian Macroseismic Questionnaire, Seismological Research Letters, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1785/0220170199, publié en ligne le 6 décembre 2017.

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