Mexican fans celebrating their national team’s goal against Germany in the 35th minute of Sunday’s World Cup match caused an earthquake, Yahoo Sports is reporting.
All across Mexico, fans who couldn’t make it thousands of miles to Russia, but who still wanted to be a part of the experience of watching the match in a giant crowd, gathered in the country’s plazas, courtyards, and public spaces to watch the match on giant TV screens. Perhaps nowhere was this more true than in Mexico City’s Zócalo, the city’s town square, which was packed shoulder-to-shoulder with thousands, cheering on for El Tri (what the Mexicans call their national team).
And cheer they did. So loudly and so raucously did they cheer that they literally shook the Earth.
At about 10:32 a.m. Mexico City time (11:32 a.m. Eastern Time) Sunday morning, seismographs around Mexico City picked up a slight shaking of the ground that was stronger than the usual seismic background noise.
El #sismo detectado en la Ciudad de México se originó de manera artificial. Posiblemente por saltos masivos durante el Gol de la selección de #México en el mundial. Por lo menos dos sensores dentro de la Ciudad lo detectaron a las 11:32. pic.twitter.com/mACKesab3b
— SIMMSA (@SIMMSAmex) June 17, 2018
“The earthquake detected in Mexico City was of artificial origin. Possibly by massive jumps during the goal in the Mexico World Cup game. At least two sensors in the city detected it at 11:32.”
And if you doubt for a second that thousands of humans jumping and shouting in unison can set off a seismograph, just watch this.
????that reaction from the Zocalo in Mexico City to Chucky Lozano's goal. pic.twitter.com/PcyHyfit9w
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 17, 2018
At this point it bears noting that there’s a fine line between “measurable earthquake” and “a slight jump from regular seismic background noise,” says CNN. What’s more, in order for a mass of jumping and shouting humans to cause the needle to move on the seismograph, the machine would have to be nearby – like, within a few miles. Of course, Mexico City is prone to earthquakes (of the real variety), so there are plenty of machines nearby, which did, in fact, pick up the anomaly.
Of course, man-made earthquakes have been a thing for as long as we’ve been using explosives to mine, conduct warfare, and so on. In fact, they happen all the time in places where the mining process known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” occurs, says Forbes.
Meanwhile, this is not the first time that celebrating sports fans have reacted with such enthusiasm that seismographs picked it up. Back in 2011, a geologist convinced the right people to allow him to put the earthquake-detecting machines in Seattle’s CenturyLink Field to measure if stomping fans could cause the machines to register. Sure enough, when Marshawn Lynch scored on a 67-yard touchdown run in the NFC wildcard game against the Saints, the machines did, in fact, pick up the ruckus from the fans. The event is now known in seismology circles as the “Beast Quake,” according to Yahoo Sports.