Can the Roar of a Stadium Crowd Cause an Earthquake? Yes, Actually.

Bands that literally make the earth shake aren’t new.  Both Madness and Foo Fighters concerts have been associated with earth tremors.  I quote a report regarding a Foos’ show in Auckland, New Zealand, on December 13, 2011:

Two geological hazard monitoring stations picked up seismic waves when the band performed at Auckland’s Western Springs Stadium on Tuesday (December 13). According to GeoNet’s Shaken Not Stirred blog, the two stations were located 1.5 km and 2 km, respectively, away from the concert. The scientists found that the ground shook around three times per second and noted, “There are lulls in the signal between the songs and peaks in signal intensity during the songs.”

So what exactly caused the shaking? It was “most likely the weight of the 50,000 fans dancing, as 50,000 fans is equal to around 5,000 tonnes of mass moving (or moshing) on the ground for the duration of the concert.” The massive volume may have also contributed, “especially the bass frequencies coupling in to the earth.”

A new study is being carried about this weekend by the University of Washington and the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network to see if the Seattle Seahawks 12th man can disturb some tectonic plates in the area, something that’s been dubbed “the Beast Effect.”  Three instruments have been installed at Century Link Field in Seattle for Saturday’s game to see what sort of acoustic damage 67,000 people can inflict upon the planet.  Let’s also keep in mind that there have been an unusual number off earthquakes in the Pacific west of Vancouver island lately. Just sayin’, you know?

If you’d like to monitor the situation in real time go to QuickShake, which will offer readouts from all three seismic instruments.

QuickShake

 

More details on the Seahawks experiment here and here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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