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Swift Fans Shake the Ground!

Earthquakes shake the ground. And so do Taylor Swift fans.

Taylor Swift holds a guitar and smiles while standing in front of a microphone and wearing a sparkly dress.

Mat Hayward—TAS23/Getty Images Entertainment

Taylor Swift smiles at her fans during a July 22, 2023, show in Seattle, Washington.

“Shake It Off” is one of Taylor Swift’s biggest hit songs. But maybe she should rename it “Shake the Ground.” At two recent Swift concerts, fans got so excited that that’s exactly what they did!

The Earth-shaking events took place in Seattle, Washington, in July 2023. More than 70,000 Swifties (that’s the name for Swift’s fans) gathered each night to watch Swift rock out. During the two four-hour shows, the dancing fans, plus the music, shook the ground as hard as an earthquake.

That’s according to Professor Jackie Caplan-Auerbach, who teaches geology at Western Washington University. (Geology is the study of the features and history of Earth.) Caplan-Auerbach wanted to find out how much the Swift concerts shook the ground, so she checked an instrument called a seismometer, which measures the motion of the ground. Seismometers are often used to measure the strength of earthquakes on a scale of numbers. The higher the number, the stronger the earthquake. The shaking that took place at the Swift concerts wasn’t an earthquake, but the seismometer picked it up. The concert shaking measured 2.3, which is similar to a weak earthquake! 

“The music, the speakers, the beat. All that energy can drive into the ground and shake it,” Caplan-Auerbach told CNN.

After Caplan-Auerbach revealed that she had been studying the effects of the concerts, many of Swift’s fans sent comments to her on social media. They asked her if they had really caused the ground to shake. She said she’s excited to be able to help as many people as possible understand how science connects with real life.

Caplan-Auerbach wants to keep studying those concerts and why they shook the ground. How much shaking did the fans cause? How much of it was caused by the loud music?

Here’s another unanswered question: Is Caplan-Auerbach a Taylor Swift fan? Maybe so!

“I would not be surprised if I came out [of this study] as a Swiftie,” she told CBS News.

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Fun Fact

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images; Photo illustration Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

The Billboard 200 is a list of the 200 music albums that people are buying the most.

Taylor Swift’s albums are on the Billboard 200 a lot. In July 2023, 11 of her albums were on the list at the same time! She’s the only living artist to achieve this.

Animals and Earthquakes

Two ants sit on a seismograph readout. One of the ants says something big is coming.

© Negro Elkha/stock.adobe.com, © Henrikhl/Dreamstime.com; Photo illustration Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Can animals predict earthquakes?

People have reported seeing fish, reptiles, and insects acting strangely before earthquakes—sometimes weeks before. For example, ants have been seen staying awake all night outside their nest before an earthquake. Normally, ants are resting at night. In fact, when they’re outside the nest at night, they’re more likely to be eaten by other animals.

Scientists are trying to figure out if they can use certain animals to predict earthquakes in time to keep people safe.

Why Do Earthquakes Happen?

© VectorMine/Dreamstime.com

Earthquakes are measured on a scale of 1 to 10. Earthquakes that measure very high on the scale can do a lot of damage.

What causes earthquakes? Can they happen anywhere on Earth? Find out at Britannica School!

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Word of the Day

juggernaut

Part of speech:

noun

Definition:

: something (such as a force, campaign, or movement) that is extremely large and powerful and cannot be stopped

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