This past July, more than 70,000 Taylor Swift fans packed into Lumen Field in Seattle, Washington, to see the pop star’s back-to-back sold-out shows. The concertgoers’ enthusiastic dancing and cheering, combined with the loud volume of the show’s powerful sound system, was so strong it shook the ground.
Jackie Caplan-Auerbach, a geologist at Western Washington University, analyzed hours of data collected by seismometers—devices that record vibrations within the earth. She found that both of
Taylor Swift’s shows produced what fans are now calling a “Swift Quake.” The movement and noise of the crowds—plus the thumping music—caused the ground to shift back and forth at a rate comparable to a 2.3 magnitude earthquake!
Curiosity led Caplan-Auerbach to investigate the impact of the concert. “Science doesn’t have to happen in a lab,” she says. “Everyday observations and experiences are science too.”