A man walks over a damaged road in Paiapoi, 20 kilometers (13 miles) south of Christchurch, New Zealand, Sunday, Sept. 5, 2010 after the city was hit by an earthquake Saturday, Sept. 4. Christchurch was struck by a powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake that smashed buildings, cracked roads and twisted rail lines and also ripped a new 11-foot (3.5 meter) wide fault line in the earth's surface, officials said Sunday. At least 500 buildings, including 90 downtown properties, have been designated as destroyed in the quake near the South Island city of 400,000 people. But most other buildings sustained only minor damage.(AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
A man walks over a damaged road in Paiapoi, 20 kilometers (13 miles) south of Christchurch, New Zealand, Sunday, Sept. 5, 2010 after the city was hit by an earthquake Saturday, Sept. 4. Christchurch was struck by a powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake that smashed buildings, cracked roads and twisted rail lines and also ripped a new 11-foot (3.5 meter) wide fault line in the earth's surface, officials said Sunday. At least 500 buildings, including 90 downtown properties, have been designated as destroyed in the quake near the South Island city of 400,000 people. But most other buildings sustained only minor damage.(AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

Switzerland hit by three minor quakes

Time of article published Jan 9, 2011

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Geneva - Three small earthquakes shook the west of Switzerland overnight but there were no reports of damage, Swiss police said on Sunday.

The quakes, which registered between 2.8 and 3.3 on the open-ended Richter scale, were recorded in the Valais canton.

The epicentre of the first quake at 9:48pm (2048 GMT) was the tourist village of Mollens, not far from Sierre.

It was followed by a second quake in the same area at 11:20 pm and then a third further down the valley at 12:30 am, police said.

Switzerland is considered at a low to moderate risk of earthquakes. Experts believe an earthquake of magnitude 6 could be expected around once a century and a destructive powerful quake of magnitude 7 only once every 1,000 years.

The town of Basel was destroyed by a quake in 1356. More recently Sierre was rocked by a magnitude 6 quake in 1946. - Sapa-AFP

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