Scientists will use football fans to simulate quake As several pieces of seismic monitoring equipment sit on the floor, a scientist does a "stomp test" to check the gear at the Seattle Seahawks' field. At left, a scientist points out a seismogram display on a monitor (AP photos)
Scientists will use football fans to simulate quake
Lexile

Assign to Google Classroom

The jumps, stomps and roars of fans cheering on the Seattle Seahawks have been known to shake the ground around CenturyLink Field. That's where the NFL team plays its home games. Now scientists will use expected fan quakes during a game. It will be an experiment with an earthquake early warning system.

Scientists first noticed the earth shaking around the Seahawks' stadium during a 2011 playoff game. That's when running back Marshawn Lynch broke eight tackles and ran 67 yards during a 13-second play against the New Orleans Saints. That run was considered one of the most impressive in NFL history. It sparked a very big fan reaction. It was big enough to create a seismic tremor recorded near the stadium. Fans jumped and stomped their way to a magnitude -1 or -2 earthquake.

It became known as the "Beast Quake." That's because of Lynch's nickname.

University of Washington scientists with the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network have installed three instruments in the stadium. Two are up in the stands. One is by the playing field. Seismologists have used such instruments at the stadium in the past. But this year's experiment features faster connectivity and readings.

A new tool called "QuickShake" is expected to display vibrations within three seconds. That is five to 10 times faster than the tool used with the sensors last year, the scientists said.

If a big play prompts a fan quake, viewers monitoring the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network's webpage will see the activity before they see it on television. That's because TV has about a 10-second delay during broadcast.

"The Seahawks experiment should provide us and the Internet-connected public with a feel for the minimum time early warning might provide," said Steve Malone. He is a UW professor emeritus of Earth and space sciences.

The seismologists also hope to test their website's traffic endurance and social media presence. It's an effort to go through the information dissemination procedures they would use during a real earthquake.

The collective energy of the quake is created by tens of thousands of fans. They are jumping, clapping, stomping and swaying, which travels throughout the stadium. That shakes the ground underneath, scientists said.

Critical thinking challenge: Why can't scientists know for certain when they will see the results of their test?

Assigned 172 times


COMMENTS (130)
  • JackR-5
    1/20/2015 - 12:19 p.m.

    The Seattle Seahawks stadium gets very loud. So loud that it could create earthquakes. Scientist have created a device to measure how much the stadium is shaking. Scientist first realized that the stadium was creating shaking after a Marshawn Lynch run. New technologies are enabling scientists to see shaking as quick as three seconds. It used to be over 10 seconds. Jumping clapping and excited fans create the shaking. I think that it is great that a sports team could create an earthquake. That should be there new team name the Seattle earthquakes.

  • HaydenW13
    1/20/2015 - 01:09 p.m.

    I think that is very interesting how the Seahawks fans can be so supportive to there team in such a powerful way. I was actually in Seattle when one of the loudest games for the Seahawks was happening it was a very cool experience when it was happening because i was at a soccer game near Century link field and i heard all the loud fans.

  • HaydenW13
    1/20/2015 - 01:09 p.m.

    I think that is very interesting how the Seahawks fans can be so supportive to there team in such a powerful way. I was actually in Seattle when one of the loudest games for the Seahawks was happening it was a very cool experience when it was happening because i was at a soccer game near Century link field and i heard all the loud fans.

  • HaydenW13
    1/20/2015 - 01:09 p.m.

    I think that is very interesting how the Seahawks fans can be so supportive to there team in such a powerful way. I was actually in Seattle when one of the loudest games for the Seahawks was happening it was a very cool experience when it was happening because i was at a soccer game near Century link field and i heard all the loud fans.

  • ella_volleyball5
    1/20/2015 - 01:18 p.m.

    I think this is a very interesting thing to test.I also think that the Seahawks stadium is a great one to try something like this in. There are defiantly some crazy fans out there. Go hawks!

  • Mickle8352
    1/20/2015 - 01:30 p.m.

    Humans manage to make an earthquake with their feet. The fans in Seattle's stadium have been so uplifted with big plays stomp, jump, and yell. Scientists found a slight tremor in the stadium following these great plays. After further review they found that these fans could create a 1 or 2 magnitude earthquake. It is amazing that humans have managed to make earthquakes with only our bodies.

  • reidh-Eic
    1/20/2015 - 01:42 p.m.

    I wish I could float by using fans that's amazing. The fans for football are very powerful. It would be fun to quake during a football game. That makes want to go to a Seahawks game.

  • quinh-Eic
    1/20/2015 - 01:43 p.m.

    That is cool that they will be able to simulate an earthquake! That would be able to exsperince that at my own home!I want to buy one.

  • Natalee-Arm
    1/20/2015 - 01:44 p.m.

    Scientist don't know for certain because they don't know when it will be great enough for it to pick it up. They also inserted things that would pick up if there was a big enough quake to shake the ground.

  • taylorb-Wal
    1/20/2015 - 02:20 p.m.

    The Seattle seahawks have not been the best of NFL teams in the previous years. These recent years have brought good fortune to fans and caused them to create much more of a riot in the stands due to a winning team. They have returned to the super bowl for the second time in two years. The stands at the super bowl may need to be reinforced for another "beast quake".

Take the Quiz Leave a comment
ADVERTISEMENT