Louder Fans than PSU Football's Student Sections?!?


As a Penn State student, and a life-long fan of Penn State football, I always said the Penn State student section were the loudest fans in the entire nation.  After all, students jumping to "Zombie Nation" had broken bleachers in the past. Kirk Herbstreit of ESPN's College Gameday has proclaimed the Penn State Student Section as the greatest student section in all the land.  At Madison Square Garden a few years ago for an NIT final, concession stands reported shaking thanks to Penn State students cheering. But have the students ever caused seismographic activity before?

In last Monday night's football game, the Seattle Seahawks fans at Quest Field were so loud, scientists actually said their volume caused seismographic activity to be recorded in the Seattle area. While this isn't the first time football games have caused earthquake like activity to be recorded (once before at Seattle and once 25 years ago at LSU), this game drew particular attention because it not only caused an earthquake to be recorded but the Guinness Book of World Records was on hand. They certified the loudest recorded noise ever at that same game.

Thanks to the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network's verification, "Rowdy fans stomping and roaring when the Seattle Seahawks scored a touchdown the football stadium shook so hard that a nearby seismometer registered an "earthquake." So now Nittany Nation has a new challenge for next year...to cause an earthquake in Happy Valley!




I love that Seattle is getting a little love here! As an avid Seahawks fan of over eight years now, I take great pride in our ability to be just plain loud. It's actually the second time this season that we've set that same record - the last was September 16 against San Francisco. However, to have reached 137.6 decibels on Monday is just astounding. To put that into perspective, a jet engine flying 100 feet above you produces about 140 decibels. And, according to former math and science teacher Paul Richardson, what the 12th Man accomplished is nearly impossible. By his calculations, the some 65,000 screaming fans in CenturyLink Field produced the same amount of sound as roughly 6.5 million people screaming at a normal decibel range. That's just downright absurd.

Whether this is actually true or not, once on a tour I was told that Beaver Stadium has in fact registered on the Richter scale. I was also told that the reason the Millennium Science Complex was built on shock absorbers was so that the delicate experiments inside would not be disrupted by the seismic waves sent out from the football stadium. Beyond that, I also read that we are no longer supposed to do Zombie nation more than twice per game because the jumping was actually causing physical damage to the stadium. Who knew?! The following article shows an interesting graphic that shows the different parts of Beaver Stadium and its seismic activity: http://prezi.com/j5fnbd7cuqzr/copy-of-beaver-stadium-sound-and-seismic-activity/

While Seattle fans are undoubtedly loud and very passionate about their football team, apparently the record-breaking noise levels being recorded in the stadium are aided by the CenturyLink Field's stadium design. The design of the seating decks and partial roof prevent crowd noise from escaping and direct noise back towards the field. As previously stated, such loud noise projected onto the field causes miscommunication between visiting players and results in additional penalties. The home field advantage that Seattle has developed raises ethical questions about stadium design in the spirit of allowing no team to gain an unfair advantage. It will be interesting to see if stadium noise records continue to be broken and how that will affect stadium design in the future.

What's interesting about this post is that this was not the first time seismographic activity occurred in this Seattle stadium http://www.king5.com/news/local/Seahawks-fans-cause-12th-Man-quake-during-Lynch-touchdown-113208789.html. I feel that Shawn is correct,and that the stadium design must have something to do with the multiple earthquake like activities. If it happens once, it's astounding, but if it happens twice, people should begin to look in to possible causes as to why the seismographic activity occurs solely in this stadium but never in others.

I never really looked twice at the whole "Seattle registered on the richter scale" and "Loudest fans on earth" thing mostly because of what Sarah and Shawn said above me. The stadium is specifically designed to trap noise as this article states:

But I also had a problem with this because it seems like they're spending money on this and not the players they need to actually win a Super Bowl title. That's what the owners really care about and yet everybody's focusing on how loud they are. For what? Literally for what? Sure there's the occasional penalty due to visiting players not hearing their cadence or calls but shouldn't we be focused on our couching and our athletes?

Just my opinion on the topic

I think the craziest part of your article in my opinion is that people can actually cause an earthquake! We think of an earthquake typically as just something that happens in nature that we don't have any control over, but it looks like we do have some control. As easily as gathering a very large group of people and being as loud as possible we can cause one all on our own. As everyone was saying above, when I tried looking into earthquakes caused by human noise I found that this wasn't a rare occurrence at the Seahawks stadium. According to an article that can be read in the link blow, this happened three years ago during a post season game and it is expected to happen again when the Seahawks play again in this post season. If anything this just makes me think that there has to be a way to build the stadium with this in mind in order to avoid these frequent earthquakes. http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/12/03/another-saints-game-another-small-earthquake-in-seattle/\

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