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Taylor Swift fans in Edinburgh danced so intensely during her Eras Tour that they caused a minor earthquake, with the song “Ready For It?” shaking the ground the most

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Taylor Swift fans in Edinburgh danced so intensely during her Eras Tour that they caused a minor earthquake, with the song "Ready For It?" shaking the ground the most

Taylor Swift might have said she would Shake It Off, but no one could have expected she meant it so literally.

 

From last Friday to Sunday, over 220,000 Swifties flocked to Edinburgh’s Murrayfield stadium to catch the Scottish leg of the American superstar’s Eras Tour.
Their synchronised dancing was so enthusiastic that it triggered an earthquake which could be picked up by seismologists more than 3.7 miles (six kilometres) away.
Thanks to Swift’s identical performances each night, scientists have even been able to figure out which songs got the biggest reaction.
And while Shake it Off might have been fitting, it was the 2017 hit Ready For It? which sent the biggest shockwaves through Scotland.
Taylor Swift’s musical vibrations were recorded by researchers from the British Geological Survey (BGS) working at a monitoring centre in Edinburgh.
These experts usually use their sensitive equipment to detect earthquakes, but on Monday the team spotted a different kind of activity in their recordings.
Because Swift’s performances are so precisely choreographed, the data from each of the three nights could be layered together to filter out the background noise of Edinburgh.
What they found was a series of clear spikes showing the exact moments when the fans’ favourite songs started to play.
Callum Harrison, a seismologist for the BGS, says: ‘It’s amazing that we’ve been able to measure the reaction of thousands of concert goers remotely through our data.
‘Clearly Scotland’s reputation for providing some of the most enthusiastic audiences remains well intact!’
The BGS was able to spot fans dancing to Shake It Off, Cruel Summer, and even detected a tremor caused by the four-minute applause to Champagne Problems.
However, it was Ready For It? that produced the biggest seismic spike as fans transmitted energy equivalent to 6,000 car batteries directly into the Earth at 160 bpm.
The seismic data even shows which night was the liveliest, with Friday night coming out on top based on the distance the ground moved.
At its peak on Friday, the Earth was displaced by 23.4 nanometres, compared with 22.8 nm and 23.3 nm on the Saturday and Sunday respectively.
However, the BGS says that the tremors wouldn’t have been strong enough to be felt outside the stadium.
Earthquakes typically release energy very quickly, in a quick burst lasting seconds rather than the length of a whole song.
Even though the energy released during a song might have been the same as a small earthquake, the amount of shaking is a lot lower.
Yet while the displacement might have been small by the standards of earthquakes and isn’t even big enough to earn a magnitude ranking, it is massive for a concert.
Swift isn’t the first to shake Murrayfield stadium, but her performances over the weekend dwarf previous records.
Beyoncé’s Renaissance tour only managed to move the ground 14nm while Bruce Springsteen’s fans only managed a paltry 1.8nm.
And, perhaps quite satisfyingly for Swift, her fans also smashed the previous record set by her ex Harry Styles.
This weekend’s ground-shaking performance might have been aided by the decision to expand Murrayfield’s capacity especially for the Eras Tour.
The stadium agreed to allow an additional 5,860 fans for the visiting pop star, increasing the maximum by almost nine per cent to a record 72,990.
Even with the expanded capacity, fans were out as early as 5am to secure their spot at the front of the queue for the sold out show.
This isn’t the first time that Swift’s billion-dollar Eras Tour has literally shaken up its host town.
At a performance to 70,000 fans in L.A fans generated a 0.85 magnitude ‘Swift-quake’ as she performed Shake It Off.
In another 2023 concert in Seattle’s Lumen Field, Swift triggered seismic activity equivalent a 2.3 magnitude earthquake.
For comparison, an earthquake of 2.5 or more is the threshold at which tremors begin to be felt and cause minor damage.
During that concert, Swift played to a crowd of 144,000 fans and produced tremors even bigger than the city’s 2011 ‘Beast Quake’ triggered by an NFL game.

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