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Flying circus of physics

Sports initiated earthquakes

Friday, April 01, 2016


Video series

The seventh video in my Flying Circus of Physics video series with Cleveland State University has been posted:

Sports initiated earthquakes 
Jearl Walker
April 2016  Seismologists have long been known for detecting earthquakes and nuclear bomb tests but they have also been able to detect smaller events such as the truck-bomb blast in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1998 in a terrorist attack on the American embassy. In recent times, they have turned their attention to ground shaking due to enthusiastic jumping and yelling by fans at sporting events. The noise level itself can be high enough that the stadium and ground shake in a random way, sending out seismic waves through the local ground. Here is an explanation given on CNN to host Brooke Baldwin about the seismic activity recorded when the Seattle Seahawks won against the New Orleans Saints in an American football game played in Seattle:

This next video might be the first time ground shaking due to sports fans was detected. When Louisiana State University scored a last-minute, winning touchdown against Auburn University in 1988, 80,000 LSU fans suddenly leaped up for joy and then jumped in place for a minute or so:

Of course, ground shaking can occur for any sporting event in which a sudden score can win the game. Here is a video about the seismic recordings made near a game with Leicester City Football Club:

Such enthusiasm during a game is wonderful but I would be fearful if there is a prolonged and coordinated jumping in a stadium. The repeated pounding on the ground will send out a strong ground wave but could also break the support structure of the stadium. The coordinated jumping would produce a much stronger ground wave than random jumping. Here is an example from Frankfurt:

More videos Belgrade, stadium shaking Argentina Seattle Seahawks, can see chart recording

Dots · through ··· indicate level of difficulty
Journal reference style: author, title, journal, volume, pages (date)
Book reference style: author, title, publisher, date, pages
· Kanamori, H., J. Mori, D. L. Anderson, and T. H. Heaton, “Seismic excitation by the space shuttle Columbia,” Nature, 349, No. 6312, 781-782 (28 February 1991)
· Holzer, T. L., J. B. Fletcher, G. S. Fuis, T. Ryberg, T. M. Brocher, and C. M. Dietel, “Seismograms offer insight into Oklahoma City bombing,” EOS, 77, No. 41, 393-404 (8 October 1996)
· Koper, K. D., T. C. Wallace, and D. Hollnack, “Seismic analysis of the 7 August 1998 truck-bomb blast at the American embassy in Nairobi, Kenya,” Seismological Research Letters, 70, No. 5, 512-521 (September/October 1999)
· Ichinose, G. A., K. D. Smith, and J. G. Anderson, “Seismic analysis of the 7 January 1998 chemical plant explosion at Kean Canyon, Nevada,” Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 89, 938-945 (August 1999)
· Wilson, A. D., “The sinking of the Russian submarine Kursk,” Sea Technology, 41, No. 12, 47-51 (December 2000)
· Koper, K. D., T. C. Wallace, S. R. Taylor, and H. E. Hartse, “Forensic seismology and the sinking of the Kursk,” EOS, 82, No. 4, 45-46 (23 January 2001)
· Mackenzie, D., “Seismic shift,” Discover, 22, No. 9, 60-66 + 85 (September 2001)
· Perkins, S., “Science News, 159, 53 (27 January 2001)
· Perkins, S., “Ripples spread wide from Ground Zero,” Science News, 160, 324 (24 November 2001)
··· Savage, B., and D. V. Helmberger, “Kursk explosion,” Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 91, No. 4, 753-759 (August 2001)
·· Koper, K. D., T. C. Wallace, R. E. Reinke, and J. A. Leverette, “Empirical scaling laws for truck bomb explosions based on seismic and acoustic data,” Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 92, No. 2, 527-542 (March 2002)
··· Sorrells, G., J. Bonner, and E. T. Herrin, “Seismic precursors to space shuttle shock fronts,” Pure and Applied Geophysics, 159, 1153-1181 (2002)
· Koper, K. D., T. C. Wallace, and R. C. Aster, “Seismic recordings of the Carlsbad, New Mexico, pipeline explosion of 19 August 2000,” Bulletin of the Seismological Society of American, 93, No. 4, pages 1427-1432 (August 2003)
·· Halliday, D., R. Resnick, and J. Walker, Fundamentals of Physics, John Wiley & Sons, 7th edition, 2005, pages 413, 415-416
· Richards, P. G., and W-Y. Kim, “Seismic signature,” Nature Physics, 3, No. 1, 4-6 (January 2007)


Are you looking for the stories from the last several months? They are in the archives:

Using your head as a remote car opener, 5.64
Knuckle cracking, 3.48 
Bouncing batteries, 5.63
Concrete compression strength test, 1.277

Helium singing choir, 3.5
Escape from mud, 2.102
Spin painting, 2.201
Balancing coins on edge, 1.239

Human slingshot (intoxicated SHM), 1.276
Marshawn Lynch running through defenders, 1.275
Pen ink is non-Newtonian, otherwise your shirt would be soaked, 2.58
Pub trick --- fluorescence of a gin and tonic, 5.19

Football players downed by lightning (really, upward streamers), 5.2
Black egg becomes glimmering, 6.169
Spiral arms of water, 2.200 
Pub trick -- pouring a black and tan, 2.187

Pointy ice drops, 4.20
Japanese samurai horo: silk cloth versus arrows, 1.130
Juggling hammers, hitting a nail on the head, 1.25
Pub trick --- optically reversing arrows, 6.168

Sloshing, 2.199
Coffee heated in hot sand, 4.115
Pinhole sites and selfies, 7.33
Pub trick -- balancing pins on glass rim, 1.239

Loop-the-loop with cars, bikes, skateboards, and simply running, 1.270
Pub  trick --- spoon into mug, 1.271
Transparent when wet, 6.86
Hula-hoop, 1.84

Lethal upward streamers in an electric storm, 5.1
Floaters in your eye, 7.5
Pub trick --- musical wineglass, 3.43
Standing and walking in a strong wind, 1.227

Pub trick --- beer bottle tapping prank, 2.76
Bull riding, 1.92
Mianus Bridge collapse, 1.71
Sliding stick across outstretched fingers, 1.172

Café wall illusion, 7.58
Tire explosions, 4.114
Pub trick --- using thermal stress to open a wine bottle, 4.113
Giant Leg towers, 1.272

Pouring tea in an airplane during a barrel roll  2.197
Pub trick --- water from nowhere  6.166
Survival strategies of emperor penguin huddles   1.197
Racing over a rail crossing  7.59

V1 flying bombs tipped by Spitfire airplanes  1.273
Smallest electric train  5.61
Whispering bench in New York City's Central park  3.63
Pub trick --- separating salt and pepper  5.60

Tesla coils  5.62
Royle's self-pouring teapot  2.198
Self-righting of overturned turtles and the toy known as gomboc  1.274
Pub trick --- the self-righting bottle  1.106

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