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Celebrating fans cause minor earthquakes in U.S. football game

Source: Reuters - Tue, 3 Dec 2013 05:06 PM
Author: Reuters
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(Adds comments from professor, quote, additional earthquakes, byline)

By Karen Brooks

Dec 3 (Reuters) - Seattle football fans erupted in cheers so raucous early in the Monday night match-up against the New Orleans Saints that their jumping up and down registered as five minor earthquakes, a state university professor told Reuters.

The most intense rumble came during a celebration after Seahawks' defensive end Michael Bennett recovered a fumble by New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees in the first quarter and ran it back for a touchdown, said John Vidale, director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network at the University of Washington.

The raucous reaction of the fans at CenturyLink Field was picked up by a nearby seismometer used by the network, which monitors ground motion activity in Washington and Oregon.

The earthquake measured between a magnitude 1 and 2, Vidale said, and it was too small to be traced by the U.S. Geological Survey. But the touchdown set the stage for a 34-7 Seahawks win - and one rowdy stadium.

"Every time the Seahawks scored a touchdown, there was a (seismic) signal," said Vidale, whose network is headquartered at the University of Washington's Department of Earth and Space Sciences.

The rivalry between the Seahawks and the Saints has caused tremors in the past.

The seismometer recorded Marshawn Lynch's "Beast Quake" on Jan. 8, 2011, when he scored a 67-yard touchdown run that sealed a 41-36 playoff victory over the Saints. (Reporting by Karen Brooks in Austin, Texas; Editing by Scott Malone, Cynthia Johnston and Maureen Bavdek)

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