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Earthquake gives Swiss canton of Valais a shake

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Earthquake gives Swiss canton of Valais a shake
The large black dot in the bottom left-hand corner marks the epicentre of the quake. Image: Swiss Seismological Service

A minor earthquake measuring 3.2 on the Richter scale was widely felt across parts of the Swiss canton of Wallis last night, according to the Swiss Seismological Service (SED).

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The quake, which stuck at 2.09am had its epicentre nine kilometres from Saxon at a depth of around seven kilometres below ground.

The seismic event was felt across Lower Valais, especially around the towns of Fully, Martigny and Aigles, the SED said in a statement.

The service said it had received 200 calls from people who had felt the quake in the minutes after the quake.

The area of Saxon has already experience seismic activity this year: in February, a quake measuring 2.6 on the Richter scale was felt in the zone.

Wallis has experienced numerous small quakes in recent years, not uncommon in the canton which has the highest earthquake activity in Switzerland.

Around ten quakes of between 3 and 4 magnitude hit the country every year, with a 4+ quake expected every 1–3 years. 

Strong earthquakes, classified of 6 magnitude or above, occur once every 50–150 years.
 
The last, a 6.2, hit Sierre in 1946, meaning Switzerland is due another large one by around 2040, geologists have said.
 

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