Shake it up! They can feel you stomp! Aside from the Seahawks and their opponents, the ‘they’ in this case are the geologists at the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network.
Seattle fans are known for getting busy, noisy, and evidently jumping enough to make the land around the stadium bouncy - at least bouncy enough for seismometers to pick up the tremors.
The scientists have plenty of reasons for doing this. Our region gets earthquakes, but they’re hard to study because they’re unpredictable. Playoff games aren’t. The game may be unpredictable, but Seahawks fans deliver on time, on schedule, and with lots of energy. The players appreciate the response, and so do the scientists.
The geology just south of Downtown is not exactly bedrock up to the surface. There’s a lot of fill in that land. It is good to know how the stadium will shake, so they get real data instead of relying on computer models. It is good to know how the local ground will shake, so they can guess about other buildings, too.
They also set up the system so they can learn how to find the best ways to collect data, interpret it, and publish it quickly - a critical task in an actual emergency. Check out their page for more details if you want to geek out on their data from previous years. They’ve produced charts that match the plays to the tremors. They’re still trying to understand the dance quakes, though.
Good luck to the Seahawks. And good luck to the scientists.
- Seattle Seahawks [PNSN]