FanQuakes at the Shoe: Fan celebrations at Ohio Stadium register on a seismic scale

November 23, 2016
FanQuakes at the Shoe: Fan celebrations at Ohio Stadium register on a seismic scale

If you've ever been to Ohio Stadium on a Saturday and were part of the crowd jumping around after a big play, you helped generate man-made (or fan made, if you will) seismic activity! These are "fan quakes," or seismic activity generated by fans jumping up and down. Professors from right here at the School of Earth Sciences in partnership with Miami University and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources thought up a project before the start of the 2016 football season. They wanted to measure these vibrations and use the data in their classes to connect the science with an experience many of their students' had first-hand account of.

The NFL team Seattle Seahawks had their "Beast Quake" in 2011, where a touchdown during a playoff game resulted in a celebration which registered on seismographs outside of their stadium of around 70,000. Well, project lead Derek Sawyer along with Wendy Panero, Ann Cook and others thought of the Shoe which holds ~35,000 more fans. They wanted to be the first university to measure fan quakes, and they knew they'd record some big numbers here. Through a conversion scale they created, celebrations from the Nov. 5 game versus Nebraska registered the equivalent of 5.2 and 5.1-magnitude quakes! I can only imagine they'll record even bigger numbers this Saturday.

For more information about fan quakes and the great work being done by Earth Sciences professors, check out http://go.osu.edu/fanquakes.

Photo courtesy of the Ohio State University