It appears that seismic activity is not isolated to just earthquakes. The fans of the Seattle Seahawks football team recently proved that. Their volume set off a surge in seismic activity that was equivalent to a microearthquake, and in dramatic fashion it happened with just 21 seconds remaining in the game.
University of Washington Earth Sciences Professor John Vidale confirmed the microearthquake, which is categorically defined as an earthquake measuring less than 2 in magnitude: "It would probably be the energy of a magnitude-one earthquake; even though the motion was kind of small, it lasted a long time." Another point to consider is that the University seismometer equipment is located roughly 125 meters away from the stadium.
Seattle Seahawks fans have made a name for themselves in the area of setting records. At CenturyLink Field, the site of the stadium that hosts the team’s home games, two records in the same category—of Loudest Roar at a Sports Stadium—have been set: 136.6 decibels in 2013 and 137.6 decibels in the next year. The Kansas City Chief fans, however, broke the record on September 29th of the same year with a roar of 142.2 decibels at the local Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.
Guinness World Records adjudicator Phillip Robertson characterizes the unique competitive spirit that’s been ignited between fans of the respective teams surrounding this highly coveted record:
“One of the most memorable series of records from recent years has been the countless attempts at the loudest crowd roar record titles, at sport stadiums both indoor and out.”
A Matter of Sound
In stark contrast to this is the unbelievable record set by Microsoft, also in a sound category: Quietest Place on Earth. One soundproof room constructed in its Redmond, Washington headquarters, ironically in the same state as the Seattle stadium, measured a sound level of only 20.35 decibels.
Described as “unbelievably quiet” by a Guinness official, the room is used for the sole purpose of testing various hardware and other audio technology. Microsoft summed up their vision for the room with a powerful slogan: “Where precision is paramount, every decibel counts.”
Designed as an anechoic chamber—a room that totally absorbs sound or electromagnetic wave reflections, it features absorbent wedges in the walls and “a mannequin that rapid fires questions to Cortana while sound engineers try to stump her with a variety of canned background noises.” The decibel level is truly extraordinary when we consider that the average decibel levels of a human whisper or the sound produced by someone breathing are only 30 and 10, respectively.
LeSalle Munroe, part of one of the teams at Microsoft that uses the room, explains the experience inside: “It is a very unique experience inside with the door closed, adding, “When you stop breathing, you can hear your heart beating and the blood flowing in your veins.”
Whether it’s the absence of sound, or in the case in Seattle, the abundance, both cases are proof of the power of human ingenuity.