The seemingly unshakable Matterhorn edifice – one of the highest peaks in the Alps – moves back and forth every two seconds.
This conclusion was reached by researchers led by the Technical University of Munich, who measured the normally imperceptible vibrations of the cult mountain.
The team explains that the movements are stimulated by the Earth’s seismic energy, which stems from oceans, earthquakes, and human activity.
The Matterhorn is located on the border between Switzerland and Italy, its peaks are 4,478 meters above sea level and towering above Zermatt.
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The seemingly unshakable Matterhorn (pictured) – one of the highest peaks in the Alps – moves back and forth every two seconds
This conclusion was reached by researchers led by the Technical University of Munich, who measured the normally imperceptible vibrations of the cult mountain. Pictured: a seismometer installed at the top of the Matterhorn
What is the mother?
The Matterhorn is a mountain located in the Alps on the border between Switzerland and Italy.
It has an elevation of 14,700 feet (4,478 m).
The Matterhorn was first written “Monte Cervin” in 1581, and later also “Monte Silvio” and “Monte Servino”.
The German name “Matterhorn” first appeared in 1682.
An estimated 500 climbers died on the Matterhorn from 1865 through the end of the summer 2011 season.
Every year between 300 and 400 people attempt to climb to the top with a guide; Of these, 20 did not reach the top.
The Matterhorn runs about 3,500 people a year without a guide; About 65 percent return to the road, usually due to a lack of fitness or insufficient head height.
From tuning forks to bridges, all things vibrate, resulting in a so-called natural frequency that depends on its geometry and physical properties.
“We wanted to see if such resonant vibrations could also be detected on a mountain as large as the Matterhorn,” said paper and earth author Samuel Weber, who conducted the research while residing at the Technical University of Munich.
To find out, Dr. Weber and his colleagues installed several seismographs on the Matterhorn, the highest of which was just below the summit at 14,665 feet (4,470 meters) above sea level.
Another was placed on the site of Camp Solvay – an emergency shelter in Hornlegrat, the northeastern ridge of the Matterhorn, which dates back to 1917 – and a measuring station at the foot of the mountain served as a reference point.
Each sensor in the measurement network is configured to automatically send its records of all movements to the Swiss Seismology Service.
By analyzing the seismometer readings, the scientists were able to get the frequency and echo of the mountain’s echo.
They found that the Matterhorn oscillates between north and south at 0.42 Hz and east and west with a similar frequency.
By speeding up the measured vibrations by 80 times, the team was able to make the surrounding Matterhorn’s vibrations audible to the human ear – as shown in the video below. (Headphones are recommended for very low frequency sounds.)
On average, the Matterhorn’s motions were small, ranging from nanometers to micrometers, but at the top it was found to be up to 14 times stronger than those recorded at the foot of the mountain.
The team explained that this is because the summit can move more freely, while the slope of the mountain is stable, just as the top of the tree sways more in the wind.
They added that the team also found that the increase in ground motion over the Matterhorn was also transmitted to seismicity, a fact that could have important implications for slope stability even in the event of strong earthquakes.
“Mountain areas with increased ground movement are likely to be more susceptible to landslides, rocks and rock damage when shaken by a violent earthquake,” said author and geologist Jeff Moore of the University of Utah.
The seismometer is located in Solvay bivouac (pictured) – an emergency shelter in Hörnligrat, the northeastern ridge of the Matterhorn, dated 1917.
The team explains that the movements are stimulated by the Earth’s seismic energy, which stems from oceans, earthquakes, and human activity. Pictured: a seismometer installed at the top of the Matterhorn
According to the team, vibrations like those detected by the team are not characteristic of the Matterhorn, as many of the peaks are expected to move in a similar manner.
In fact, as part of their research, scientists from the Swiss Seismology Service conducted a follow-up study of central Gross Methen in Switzerland, a mountain similar in shape to the Matterhorn but much smaller.
Analysis reveals that Grosse Mythen oscillates at four times the frequency of the Matterhorn because smaller objects vibrate at higher frequencies than larger objects.
These examples represent one of the first cases in which the team investigated the shaking of such large objects, as previous research focused on small objects such as rock formations in Arches National Park in Utah.
Professor Moore commented: “It was exciting to see that our simulation approach also works for a mountain as large as the Matterhorn and that the results confirm the measurement data.”
The full results of the study were published in the journal Messages for Earth and Planetary Sciences.
The Matterhorn – which straddles the border between Switzerland and Italy – is 14,692 feet (4,478 metres) above sea level, overlooking the town of Zermatt.
Earthquakes occur when two tectonic plates move in opposite directions
Catastrophic earthquakes occur when two tectonic plates that slide in opposite directions stick together and then suddenly veer away.
Tectonic plates consist of the Earth’s crust and upper mantle.
Below is the asthenosphere: a warm, sticky rock vector over which tectonic plates travel.
They don’t all move in the same direction and collide often. This creates tremendous pressure between the two plates.
Ultimately, this pressure causes one plate to vibrate above or below the other.
This releases a huge amount of energy, causing shocks and damage to nearby property or infrastructure.
Major earthquakes usually occur above fault lines where tectonic plates meet, but small earthquakes – still recorded in Richter’s sales – can occur in the center of these plates.
The Earth contains fifteen tectonic plates (pictured) that together make up the landscape we see around us today.
These are the so-called earthquakes within the plates.
They are still widely misunderstood, but are thought to occur along minute defects on the plate itself or when old defects or cracks below the surface are reactivated.
These areas are relatively faint compared to the surrounding plate and can easily move and cause an earthquake.
Earthquakes are detected by tracking the size or intensity of the shock waves they produce, known as seismic waves.
The magnitude of an earthquake varies with its intensity.
Earthquake magnitude refers to the measurement of the energy released at the point where the earthquake occurred.
Earthquakes occur underground in an area known as the cliff center.
During an earthquake, part of the seismograph remains stationary, and part of it moves with the Earth’s surface.
Then the earthquake is measured by the difference in the positions of the fixed and moving parts of the seismograph.
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