BeastQuake with no BeastMode? Seismic sensors placed for Seahawks game

UW scientists are hoping for another Seahawks Quake Saturday.

SEATTLE – The Beast may be gone, but seismologists still want a quake.

Scientists from the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network installed new equipment Thursday to help monitor ground waves at or near CenturyLink Field.

It's an idea born from the famous incident in 2011, after Marshawn Lynch's iconic run against the New Orleans Saints. The resonating fan cheers, and excitement, registered on one seismograph near the stadium.

There are now six sensors at or near CenturyLink. John Vidale and his team installed one sensor near section 340 in the upper deck.

"Up high, we can see how the structures are responding," Vidale said.

Related: Track the Quake

Vidale said the work is "mostly for fun," but also has real world application.

Yes, the Seahawks and the 12s are helping science.

"It useful to show people how earthquakes and seismology works," he said about the sensors, which are strategically positioned.  

Technology has improved since the 2011 run, and waves can get registered at the University of Washington within a couple seconds. In fact, during the NFC Championship game in 2015, the scientists could tell the game was over by the seismograph readings, before they actually saw the game on television. Vidale says a big play helps test the equipment, which may come in handy in an actual emergency.

"Every second counts when we're trying to warn people about earthquakes," he said.

The 2011 event was picked up, because the PNSN placed a sensor to detect activity by the Seattle Fault, which runs under the stadium, according to Vidale.

He added that it does take the right play for register on the equipment, noting "something that takes a long time to develop" is helpful. 

So who does that, without Marshawn around?

"That's the question. I'm sure someone will step up," said Vidale. "If they run far enough down the field, and if the fans get going, stomping, and shouting, we'll see a lot of excitement."

© 2017 Associated Press


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