If you’ve ever thought you felt the Earth move under your feet at a Canberra Raiders game, you might soon have scientific proof thanks to researchers from The Australian National University (ANU). 

Professor Malcolm Sambridge and his team will measure the seismic activity caused by the Viking Clap and crowd reaction to big moments at this Sunday’s game at GIO Stadium.  

They will install a seismometer underneath the stands that can pick up both audio waves and those transmitted into the ground – like when fans stamp their feet. 

“We’re hoping to be able to see a ‘footy quake’ when a try is scored. It’s likely to be slightly bigger when the Raiders score of course,” Professor Sambridge said. 

“It’s a general interest project for us, something we are curious to understand. But it’s also a fantastic way of connecting with the public and showing them what science can do. 

“Measuring these shallow, human induced waves can come in handy when it comes to things like evaluating buildings and roads.” 

Professor Sambridge and the team first tested the idea of measuring seismic activity at a Raiders game in 2017. He is hoping for an even bigger result this time around. 

“Originally we weren’t sure the signal would be strong enough to pick up, but we quickly realised we could clearly see the response to big events during the game,” he said. 

“We’re hoping to record Australia’s biggest ever footy quake this time.” 

The idea was inspired by the first ever identification of “footquakes” created by humans showing up in seismic signals in Cameroon.  

Consistent seismic signals from various sites across the country turned out to correspond with the enthusiastic celebrations of soccer fans after goals were scored during the 2006 African Cup of Nations.  

The ANU team will share its results on social media via @AusisEdu.

Top image: Canberra Raiders fans do their traditional Viking Clap. Photo: Nic Vevers/ANU

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Jess Fagan

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