Taylor Swift, famously, has hordes of die-hard fans. And those Swifties are so into the singer-songwriter, they’re quite literally making waves. Seismic waves.
At Swift’s recent concert in Seattle, a seismologist detected a seismic event equal to a 2.3-magnitude earthquake, The Washington Post reported over the weekend. The “Swift quake,” as some are calling it, was likely caused by a combination of the fans’ cheering, jumping, and dancing and the loudness of Lumen Field’s sound system.
“I collected about 10 hours of data where rhythm controlled the behavior,” the seismologist Jackie Caplan-Auerbach told CNN. “The music, the speakers, the beat. All that energy can drive into the ground and shake it.”
Lumen Field isn’t unfamiliar with these sorts of seismic events: In 2011, a “Beast quake” was set off after a touchdown by the Seattle Seahawks’ Marshawn Lynch. While Caplan-Auerbach noted that there were differences between the two instances—Swift had a slightly larger crowd, for example—she still said that Swift came out on top.
“I don’t really want to get into a snickering match between Seahawks fans and Swifties, but I will say Swifties have it in the bag,” she told King 5 Seattle. “This was much bigger than the Beast quake in terms of the raw amplitude of shaking, and it went on for a whole lot longer, of course.”
Other seismologists and geophysicists told The Washington Post that the seismic event was to be expected, given that the energy from fans’ vibrations travels into and through the ground as sound waves, which can be picked up by sensitive seismometers. And as technology improves, more and more of these occurrences may be noticed in the future.
Tarje Nissen-Meyer, a geophysicist at the University of Oxford, even said that you might be able to look at the data and tell different concerts apart. “Much like we can deduce different earthquake types,” he said, “one could perhaps discern a Taylor Swift gig from a Bad Religion one, some day. It all depends on the amount of data recorded and processed.”
For her part, Caplan-Auerbach tweeted that she’s trying to get tickets to Beyoncé’s upcoming Lumen Field concert, to compare the event to Swift’s—“for science.” While there’s no comparing the two superstars, that sort of data may give us a peek into which one has the more raucous fan base.