Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Scientists Hoping For Seahawks Fans' 'Beast Quakes' To Help Test Earthquake Tool

Elaine Thompson
AP Photo

Seismologists at the University of Washington are hoping for a few "beast quakes" this weekend from the Seahawks' 12th Man, who can sometimes cause small earthquakes by jumping up and down. 

The researchers hope to test out tools that might someday be a part of a system called Earthquake Early Warning.

Steve Malone, a UW professor of Earth and space sciences, says an alert system would do two things: detect an earthquake as it stats at the source, then figure out how strong the shaking will be felt some distance away.

“So, for example, an earthquake along the Washington coast won’t be felt in Seattle until a minute later, but if we can determine that quickly, we can then give a warning to the people in Seattle that the shaking will arrive here in so many seconds,” Malone said.

A few extra seconds could be just enough time to tuck under a sturdy table or get away from a wall of windows. Someday, we might be able to get earthquake alerts sent to our cell phones as is done in Japan.

If you are going to the Seahawks game this weekend, here is something to think about. The Seattle Fault, responsible for a devastating quake about a thousand years ago, runs directly under CenturyLink Field. 

Jennifer Wing is a former KNKX reporter and producer who worked on the show Sound Effect and Transmission podcast.