COLUMBUS (WCMH)—The game-winning touchdown scored by Curtis Samuel in double overtime during the Michigan game last Saturday afternoon certainly left a lasting impression on earth.
Dr. Wendy Panero, an OSU Earth Sciences professor, explained that seismometers provided by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Miami University were “picking up the vibrations … in all three directions,” she said, referring to the energy of the jumping and cheering fans, as well as the action on the field.
The OSU team measured a maximum “fan quake” of 5.79 on instruments paired at opposite ends of the Horseshoe during the game, which drew a record crowd of 110,045.
The fan quakes rose steadily in intensity during the game, attaining a cumulative 5.65 during Jerome Baker’s third-quarter interception, and Mike Weber’s touchdown that followed. Peak magnitudes were reached in overtime, a 5.70 when J.T. Barrett scored, and then 5.79 during Curtis Samuel’s game-winning score.
Another OSU faculty team leader from Ohio State’s School of Earth Sciences, Dr. Derek Sawyer, said, “It’s rare to feel an earthquake, but hundreds of thousands of people have experienced a fan quake.”
Sawyer added, “We can use this data to teach students about earthquakes.” He pointed out that the difference between a real earthquake and a fan quake is that an actual temblor occurs several miles below our feet, with energy distributed across the entire earth, rather than in a small space like Ohio Stadium.