Taylor Swift Fans Generate 2.3 Magnitude ‘Swift Quake’ During Seattle Concerts

Angel Yuan
By Angel Yuan
July 29, 2023Entertainmentshare
Taylor Swift Fans Generate 2.3 Magnitude ‘Swift Quake’ During Seattle Concerts
U.S. singer-songwriter Taylor Swift performs onstage on the first night of her "Eras Tour" at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on March 31, 2023. (Suzanne Cordeiro/AFP via Getty Images)

Taylor Swift’s “Eras” concerts in Seattle, Washington sparked seismic activity equivalent to a 2.3 magnitude earthquake, seismologist Professor Jackie Caplan-Auerbach told CNN.

Ms. Caplan-Auerbach, a Western Washington University professor, first tracked the activity after seeing a Facebook group she monitors discussing Pacific Northwest earthquakes.

She found that the waves from both nights had a pattern and were nearly identical, and contributes this to the same setlist as the audience danced to the beat of the music.

“Again you can see that they are very similar (the ground moves up and down in the same way), but the timing isn’t exactly the same—again, this would be pretty normal since the concert wouldn’t be expected to progress identically, even with the same music,” Ms. Caplan-Auerbach wrote in a Facebook post.

While Swift is known to sing songs unannounced, the time difference between the July 22 and July 23 shows was approximately 26 minutes. “I asked around and found out the Sunday show was delayed by about half an hour, so that adds up,” Ms. Caplan-Auerbach told CNN.

Seismic data showed that the “Swift Quake” was larger than the 2011 “Beast Quake”—when Seattle Seahawks fans erupted in celebration as running back Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch scored a last-minute touchdown in a playoff game.

Although the local seismometer detected that it was only 0.3 times greater than in 2011, the difference is double on the Richter scale which uses a logarithmic growth calculation.

“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 said. “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.”

“The primary difference is the duration of shaking,” Ms. 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.”

This event has been influenced by the type of terrain on which Seattle rests. The city is built on landfills and sedimentary basins with soft soil. The strength from shaking ground, such as that caused by rowdy crowds at a music concert or football game, is amplified as a result.

Taylor Swift did not comment on what went down over the weekend but she thanked her Seattle audience in an Instagram post 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.

Her sold-out Seattle concerts follow the end of the U.S. leg of her “Eras” tour, her first in 5 years and encompassing a 17-year discography. The tour will conclude with six shows in Los Angeles next month to round out her U.S. tour. Ms. Swift will begin touring internationally in Mexico City on August 24. According to Forbes, the tour is projected to bring in $1.4 billion.

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