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Taylor Swift’s Seattle Concerts Cause Small Earthquake



Taylor Swift’s fans did “shake it off” at one of her recent “Eras Tour” stop. As the highly-anticipated tour continues to draw excitement across the states, a seismic activity was detected during her concerts in Seattle on July 22 and 23.

According to Jackie Caplan-Auerbach, a seismologist and geology professor at Western Washington University, Swifties’ dance activity, combined with the sound system, caused seismic activity “equivalent of a 2.3 magnitude earthquake,” leading to the newly coined “Swift Quake”.The so-called “Swift Quake” broke the previous record of movement at Lumen Field.

Before Swift’s concert, the most seismic activity at the stadium was the “Beast Quake”, which occurred in 2011 when Seattle Seahawks fans erupted after an impressive touchdown by running back Marshawn Lynch a.k.a. Beast Mode. At that time, experts hypothesized that the shaking could have been comparable to 2.0 magnitude earthquake.

Caplan-Auerbach noted the occurrences while moderating a Pacific Northwest earthquake group on Facebook. “I grabbed the data from both nights of the concert and quickly noticed they were clearly the same pattern of signals,” she said. “If I overlay them on top of each other, they’re nearly identical.”

According to Caplan-Auerbach, the magnitude difference between the “Beast Quake” and the “Swift Quake” was 0.3, but the shaking was twice as strong as “Beast Quake”. “The other thing is that the ‘Beast Quake’ was a moment in time, you know. It was maybe 20, 30 seconds of incredible crowd joy and celebration and ground shaking, whereas the Taylor Swift concert was hours of this,” she said.

“The primary difference is the duration of shaking,” Caplan-Auerbach explained. “Cheering after a touchdown lasts for a couple seconds, but eventually it dies down. It’s much more random than a concert. For Taylor Swift, I collected about 10 hours of data where rhythm controlled the behavior. The music, the speakers, the beat. All that energy can drive into the ground and shake it.”


Caplan-Auerbach said she tracked the seismic activity from both nights of Swift’s Seattle tour stop and found that the activity was relatively the same. “Given that the setlists were the same for most of the concert, I know they should be similar. The waveforms, the wiggles should be the same for most of those songs, but they should be different for the surprise songs. So that’s one of the hypotheses that we can test,” she said. “It’ll confirm for us whether what we’re seeing is unique to a given song. If that portion of the concert is different between the two nights.”

This isn’t the only record that Swift has broken with her “Eras Tour”. Previously, she broke an attendance record at Pittsburgh’s Acrisure Stadium when 73,117 Swifites flocked to the concert on June 17.

The Grammy-winning singer/songwriter celebrated it by posting on Instagram, “Pittsburgh thank you for making me feel sooooo at home in my home state. I mean… You broke the all time attendance record and we got to be the first tour to play your stadium twice.”