Swifties cause 2.3-magnitude earthquake in Seattle at Lumen Field

ByJillian Sykes and Alli Rosenbloom, CNN, CNNWire
Friday, July 28, 2023
Taylor Swift fans cause 2.3-magnitude earthquake in Seattle
Taylor Swift fans may have taken her hit song "Shake it off" too literally.

SEATTLE -- Taylor Swift fans are in their record-breaking era.

After two nights of Earth-shaking dancing at Swift's Seattle "Eras" tour concert at Lumen Field, enthusiastic Swifties caused seismic activity equivalent of a 2.3-magnitude earthquake, according to seismologist Jackie Caplan-Auerbach.

The "Swift Quake" has been compared to the 2011 "Beast Quake," when Seattle Seahawks fans erupted after an impressive touchdown by running back Marshawn "Beast Mode" Lynch. The ensuing celebration was detected on the same local seismometer as the Swift concert, Caplan-Auerbach told CNN.

Caplan-Auerbach, who works as a geology professor at Western Washington University, saw the comparison in a Pacific Northwest earthquake group she moderates on Facebook and immediately got to work.

"I grabbed the data from both nights of the concert and quickly noticed they were clearly the same pattern of signals," she said, adding, "If I overlay them on top of each other, they're nearly identical."

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The main difference between the July 22 and July 23 shows, aside from the surprise songs Swift is known to perform, makes up roughly 26 minutes. "I asked around and found out the Sunday show was delayed by about half an hour, so that adds up" Caplan-Auerbach said.

While the magnitude difference between "Beast Quake" and "Swift Quake" is only 0.3, Caplan-Auerbach said the Swifties have the Seahawks fans beat. "The shaking was twice as strong as 'Beast Quake'. It absolutely doubled it."

"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."

CNN's Chloe Melas, who attended one of Swift's Seattle concerts, shared her observations and experiences as a concertgoer. "Going to Taylor's concert in Seattle was unlike anything I've ever experienced," she said. "You could literally feel the ground shaking beneath your feet. My ears are still ringing."

Taylor Swift is pictured performing the
Taylor Swift is pictured performing the 'Eras' tour in Seattle in July.
Mat Hayward/TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management

Even Swift herself felt the energy from her West Coast Swifties, and thanked her Seattle audience in an Instagram post on Monday for "all the cheering, screaming, jumping, dancing, singing at the top of your lungs."

"That was genuinely one of my favorite weekends ever," she added.

Swift's Seattle concerts come as she nears the end of the domestic run of her "Eras" tour, her first tour in five years. Along the way, the singer has been credited for boosting local economies and breaking an attendance record in Pittsburgh, among many other feats.

The "Eras" tour heads to Santa Clara in Northern California on Friday, and continues with six shows in Los Angeles next month to cap off her U.S. tour run. Swift then goes international with "Eras," beginning with a show in Mexico City on August 24.

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