Taylor Swift Song Promps Wild UK Response, Seismic Activity

Taylor Swift’s crowd showed more than just enthusiasm during her three shows in Edinburgh, Scotland, over the weekend. The singer’s fans—commonly known as Swifties—also caused seismic activity during this stop on the Eras Tour.

According to an emailed statement sent to TIME from the British Geological Survey (BGS), seismometers around Edinburgh were triggered by roaring crowds dancing at Murrayfield Stadium.

The Grammy-award winner’s song “…Ready For It?” caused the most seismic activity, reaching its peak at 160 beats per minute (bpm). During the song from Swift’s 2017 album Reputation, the crowd’s activity generated approximately 80 kilowatts (kw) of power, which is equivalent to around 10-16 car batteries.  Other songs, including “Cruel Summer” and “champagne problems,” also resulted in spikes in seismic activity  throughout the singer’s set, which lasted over three hours.

BGS monitoring stations around Edinburgh recorded the seismic activity, the furthest station located 3.73 miles (6 km) away at BGS offices. Each of the three evenings, from June 7 to June 9, followed a similar seismographic pattern, but the 73,000 person crowd on Friday evening caused the largest seismic activity of the concerts.

Based on the maximum amplitude of motion (the distance the ground moves), BGS says that the Friday night event was the most energetic by a small margin, recording 23.4 nanometres (nm) of movement. This can be compared to other notable concert tours that BGS recorded activity from recently, including 14.0 nm of movement at Beyonce’s Renaissance Tour on May 20, 2023, 30.9 nm at Harry Styles’ show on May 23, 2023, and 13.8 nm of movement at Bruce Springsteen’s Show on May 30, 2023.

Dr. Sophie Butcher, a volcanologist at BGS, attended two of the concerts in Edinburgh as a fan, not thinking of the science until she arrived back at work on Monday. In a phone interview with TIME, she said the excitement in the stadium was palpable, especially since the last time Swift performed in Scotland was in 2015.

"Personally, I've been watching grainy Instagram live streams of the tour in the U.S. for well over a year," Butcher says. "It's really exciting that it was finally happening here in the U.K."

Butcher said that for songs with beats with high frequencies like "...Ready for it?" and "Cruel Summer," the seismic activity was mostly caused by dancing, but for slower songs like "champagne problems," the movement is from the strong response after, as fans stomped their feet in celebration.

“Clearly Scotland’s reputation for providing some of the most enthusiastic audiences remains well intact!” Callum Harrison, BGS Seismologist, noted in a press release shared with TIME.

BGS noted, though, that unless someone was in the immediate vicinity of the stadium, they likely would not have felt the seismic activity.

“It’s amazing that we’ve been able to measure the reaction of thousands of concert goers remotely through our data. The opportunity to explore a seismic activity created by a different kind of phenomenon has been a thrill,” Harrison said.

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