AHEAD European Archive of Historical EArthquake DataEuropean Archive of Historical EArthquake Data

Elenco studiData sources
Elenco terremotiEarthquakes

Hammerl, 2008

Hammerl Ch., 2008. Studies on 1000-1750 earthquakes in Austria. NERIES NA4 collaboration's report. ZAMG, Vienna, 11 pp.



The earthquake of 4 May 1201 is thoroughly described in the study by Hammerl (1995). In particular, the section “Discussion of the secondary literature” shows how the information about the 1201 earthquake changed in the process of time.

The 1201 earthquake is reported by Bonito (1690) in a very generic way; 170 years later Jeitteles (1860) changed Lungau (region in the Province of Salzburg) mentioned by the sources into the Böhmerwald (mountain range along the German, Czech and Austrian border). Suess (1873) then reported that the earthquake was “terrible in Böhmen (Bohemia)“. Schorn (1902) for the first time mentioned the region Obersteiermark (Upper Styria), the Lungau etc. in connection with the earthquake. Gießberger (1924) reported the same about the earthquake as Schorn, whereas Sieberg (1940), 40 years after Schorn, put the before mentioned vague information in concrete terms: he spoke for the first time about a “destructive earthquake in Upper Styria“. Ten years later one can find in the “Chronik der Österreichischen Starkbeben” (Toperczer & Trapp, 1950) for the first time Murau in Styria as epicenter with an epicentral intensity of 9° MSK. Karnik (1957) adopted the information and until the study by Hammerl (1995) also the Austrian earthquake catalogue contained this information.

Studying and interpreting the about 20 original, coeval sources concerning the 1201 earthquake, two have been identified as the most important: “Gesta Archiepiscoporum Salisburgensium” and “Annales Sancti Rudberti Salisburgenses”. The “Gesta...” reports the collapse of several churches and houses, which caused casualities. A collapsing tower of the castle at Weißenstein caused eight casualities and the castle Katsch was destroyed with nearly all its inhabitants. The “Annales” reports also a big earthquake in “Lungau”, which destroyed many churches and towns and caused many casualties.

From these sources it could be deduced that the two localities for which heavy damage with casualities is reported are in the today Federal Province of Carinthia and not, as assumed before, in Styria.

From the sources neither it was possible to define the damage area nor the far field.

It is difficult to decide whether the earthquake was felt at several places (Admont, Ensdorf, Garsten, Heiligenkreuz, Klosterneuburg, Krakau, Lambach, Melk, Olmütz, Prag, Niederaltaich, Salzburg, Schäftlarn, Weihenstephan and Windberg) or whether the locality means, most likely, only the place (monastery) where the source was written down. Several sources come from e.g. Benedictine monasteries, so it is obvious that the information about the earthquake was passed on. Only the canon of Regensburg said explicitly, that the earthquake was felt in Regensburg itself.

For the sake of completeness, these are two sources, which were not used by Hammerl (1995), but unfortunately they do not add much information:

  • Annales Windbergenses, [1099-1201; 1241] MGH SS 13, G. Waitz ed.,1881, p.752. These are short annals of the Premonstratensian monastery at Windberg (Bavaria), written around 1200.
    “Anno ab incarnatione Domini 1201, quarto Nonas Mai, factus est terre motus per totam terram.”
  • Heinrici de Heimburg annals, [861-1300], MGH SS 17, G.H. Pertz, ed.,1861, p.713. These annals were written by Heinrich von Heimburg (*1242) and are original from 1259.
    “1201. Terre motus factus est 4.Non.Maii.”
  • It has to be stressed, that the contemporary information is so poor that it was not possible to assign the macroseismic intensity for the places identified as having been affected by the earthquake.

Nell'archivio ci sono In the archive there are 4 terremoti provenienti da questo studio: earthquakes considered from this study:

molto grandiextra large
molto piccolivery small
non parametrizzatinot determined

Clicca sulla riga per individuare il terremoto sulla mappa o sulla lente per ottenere più informazioni.Click the row to highlight the earthquake on the map or the lens to obtain more information.

  DataDate    Area epicentraleEpicentral area    MDPs   Imax  EQ in
EQ in
Riferim. in
1201 05 04Carinthia  3  D  
1267 05 08Styria  3  D  
1468 02Lower Austria  -  -      
1590 09 15 23 50Niederroesterreich  98  8-9