A tweet describing an artificial earthquake in Mexico City, after Mexico scored what would be the game-winning goal in the World Cup upset against Germany, went viral Sunday. But neither the US Geological Survey nor Mexico’s National Seismological Service reported an earthquake in Mexico City that day.
So what’s the deal? Did Mexico party so hard that it caused a man-made earthquake?
The event wasn’t big enough to be measured in magnitudes and wouldn’t have been perceptible to the general population, according to the Institute for Geological and Atmospherical Investigations, which is not a government agency.
On Sunday, the institute tweeted seismographic readings highlighting the activity at the time when Mexicans celebrated what would be the decisive goal scored by striker Hirving Lozano. It attributed the cause possibly to celebratory “massive jumps” in a post that got more than 27,000 retweets.
At least two of its sensors inside Mexico City detected a seismic movement during the World Cup match, “most likely produced by the massive celebration,” according to the institute’s blog post.
It said that “such events are not very big at all. Only sensitive seismographic equipment (and generally nearby) can detect the effects of crowds.”
So the closest instruments — therefore, only a “very small number of seismographs” — can measure the event, that was described as “micro-records,” by the institute.
The blog post also noted that a similar event happened during a 2011 NFL game when a touchdown run by Marshawn Lynch prompted Seattle Seahawks fans to erupt in celebration and that caused a nearby seismometer to measure vibrations in what was called “Beast Quake.”
Seattle fans shook things up again in 2013, registering on a seismological recording station near the Seahawks’ stadium during a win over the New Orleans Saints.
Earthquake or not, the enthusiasm in Mexico was felt far and wide Sunday as fans basked in the massive upset over Germany.