Historical Earthquake Database for the Bohemian Massif

Interactive map of felt earthquakes & macroseismic datapoints

by Ivan Prachař1 and Jana Pazdírková2

1) IP Consult Ltd., Praha; 2) IPE Masaryk University, Brno

Prachař I., Pazdírková J., 2022, Historical Earthquake Database for the Bohemian Massif. https://doi.org/10.48790/HPAB-H834

correspondence to pazdirkova@ipe.muni.cz

This interactive map contains earthquakes observed by people up to 1999 with a focus on the territory of the present-day Czech Republic and its immediate surroundings (approximately the Bohemian Massif). It is the result of several years of research, during which data from older earthquake catalogues were revised, hundreds of texts reporting about earthquakes were collected and analysed, and the data revealed in them were reinterpreted. The database also includes false, dubious or poorly documented earthquakes.

More about catalogue compilation
Link to the Event sheet (pdf) of most of the revised events can be found by clicking on "Dataset by Prachař, Pazdírková 2022" in the individual event window.

The CZ Historical Earthquake Database was created as a part of the Sigma-2 project, one of the objectives of which being to compile a catalogue of earthquakes with a focus on the territory of the Czech Republic and its immediate surroundings. The catalogues Kárník et al. 1958, Kárník et al. 1981 and some others (see below) were utilized as basic input sources. Many other catalogues and publications were used, too. Newly discovered earthquakes, that were not listed in any catalogue so far, were also processed.

A text file (Event sheet) containing a citation from the Kárnik catalogue or another source was created for each event whose focus could potentially be placed in the area of interest. Basal resources of Kárník et al. 1958 and/or other sources were traced and their exact citations were added to the Event sheet, including their transcription and translation. Other records relating to the event were searched for in other catalogues, scientific articles, chronicles, municipal registers, parish registers, letters, questionnaires or newspapers and then added to the Event sheet.

All pieces of information obtained were analysed in detail. In case of positive assessment (earthquake) a list of observation points (MDPs - macroseismic data points) was compiled and the earthquake parameters determined, if possible.

Some events were found not to be earthquakes or could not be evaluated:

  • / DOUBT : cannot be evaluated because primary reports were not found or were insufficient or questionable.
  • / FAKE : a false earthquake, either due to erroneous dating or location, or it was caused another natural phenomenon - e.g. landslide, meteorite, windstorm.
  • / DIST : confusion of a local earthquake with the observation of a distant earthquake.

        Not done yet:

The revision of some earthquakes has not been completed yet.
A large part of earthquakes occurring in the swarm area of western Bohemia and Vogtland have not been processed yet and their parameters were taken mostly from the Leydecker 2016 catalogue.
The database does not contain Czech observations of strong earthquakes that originated outside the Bohemian Massif as well.


Ivan Prachař (ivan.prachar@ipconsult.cz): events before 1700 and some later
Jana Pazdírková (jana.pazdirkova@ipe.muni.cz): 1700 - 1999

         Basic input sources:

Kárník, V., Michal, E., Molnár, A., 1958: Erdbebenkatalog der Tschechoslowakei bis zum Jahre 1956. Travaux de I'Inst. Géophysique de I'Académie Tchécoslovaque des Sciences. No 69, Geofysikální sborník 1957, NČSAV, Praha 1958.
Kárník, V., Procházková, D., Brouček, I., 1981. Catalogue of Earthquakes for the Territory of Czechoslovakia for the Period 1957 - 1980. Geofyzikální sborník No 555, Geofyzikální ústav ČSAV, Praha.
Leydecker, G., 2016. Erdbebenkatalog für Deutschland mit Randgebieten für die Jahre 800 - 2008 (Earthquake catalogue for Germany and adjacent areas for the years 800 to 2008). Geol. Jb., E 59; 198 s., BGR Hannover; Vertrieb: E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Stuttgart. (Version 2016). ISBN 978-3-510-95989-1.
Hammerl, Ch., Lenhardt, W.A., 2013. Erdbeben in Niederösterreich von 1000 bis 2009 n. Chr. Abhandlungen der geologischen Bundesanstalt, B. 67, s. 3 – 297, Wien. (in German). ISBN: 978-3-85316-073-2.
uterch, B., Kozák, J., 2015. Studies of Historical Earthquakes in Southern Poland: Outer Western Carpathian Earthquake of December 3, 1786, and First Macroseismic Maps in 1858-1901. 179 pp., GeoPlanet: Earth and Planetary Sciences, Springer, 2015. ISBN 978-3-319-15446-6.

How to use it:

Search for earthquakes: Click on a date in the list or on a square in the map to display more details about selected earthquake at the bottom left. Next to "Dataset by", there is a link to the data source where a pdf with detailed information can be downloaded. Always click on "earthquakes map" in the top bar to go back.

Query by place: Toggle to this option in the top bar to view the seismic history of selected place, i.e. a list of earthquakes that have been felt at that place during the history and an evaluation of their effects at that place. (This part of the database is not complete yet - not all earthquakes felt in Czechia are included!)

Research is still ongoing. Some earthquakes may be reassessed on the basis of new findings in future.

Have you come across any relevant historical reports of earthquakes? Please share it with us.


The database was created within the SIGMA-2 project, co-funded by ČEZ group.
Data are displayed using the MIDOP software kindly provided by Mario Locati, INGV.
Historical earthquake research is partly supported by the GeoBarr project.
Special thanks to Jan Zedník, IG CAS for his help with the records from Macroseismic Archive.
Thanks should be expressed to everyone who helped us with finding, translating or interpreting earthquake reports.

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