The famous Matterhorn peak sways back and forth about every two seconds. The Matterhorn Mountain, which is considered a real symbol of Switzerland, only looks like a stationary block. A group of researchers from the Technical University of Munich came to the conclusion that the 4,478-meter-high mountain is constantly in motion, swaying back and forth about once every two seconds.
The Matterhorn moves in the north-south and east-west directions with a frequency of 0.42 Hz. The “wobble” of the Alpine peak cannot be noticed with the naked eye – this requires the most accurate measuring instruments.
Scientists have placed three seismometers in the canton of Valais – experts have previously prepared the foundation so that the sensors are in a stable position. The equipment worked almost continuously, with minor failures due to lack of power in bad weather – Nanometrics Trillium Compact 20 seismometers received energy from solar panels. Real-time data was transmitted over the Network. The data was published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.
Scientists became interested in this topic because large objects, depending on external factors, vibrate at their own frequency – vibrations can be seen in skyscrapers, on bridges, near small mountains.
“We wanted to know if it was possible to detect such resonant vibrations on a large mountain like the Matterhorn,” added Samuel Weber, the author of the paper.
The measuring network transmitted information to the Swiss Seismological Service, and the instruments themselves recorded movement throughout the mountain with high resolution. Scientists have found out that vibration with an imperceptible amplitude is stimulated by seismic energy on Earth emanating from earthquakes and other factors.
Matterhorn is a symbol of Switzerland
The Matterhorn is considered one of the most recognizable peaks in the world for a reason. Every year, the Swiss pyramid attracts hundreds of tourists from all over the world. The “walls” of the tetrahedral Matterhorn look at different sides of the world. Three faces geographically belong to the Mattertal Valley in Switzerland, and the fourth face the Italian side.
This Alpine peak was considered one of the most difficult to conquer in the circles of climbers. Matterhorn remained impregnable and unconquered for a long time. They were able to climb it and take the “Alpine Fortress” only in 1865 – it is believed that then the era of technically difficult ascents began.