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World Cup fans celebrating in Mexico City may have caused artificial earthquake

Posted: Updated: Jun 17, 2018 3:28 PM

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Hirving Lozano scoring the lone goal in Mexico's 1-0 victory over reigning World Cup champion Germany appears to have led to an artificial earthquake in Mexico City on Sunday.

Two monitoring stations in Mexico City picked up the temblor the same time Lozano scored, 35 minutes into the match. Seismologists in Chile also said that their instruments detected an artificial temblor at the same time.

John E. Vidale, director of the Southern California Earthquake Center, told USA TODAY Sports that at most such fan-induced earthquakes would generate a 2 on the Richter Scale, which would go unnoticed by the public if it were a typical quake.

By comparison, the 1985 earthquake that killed thousands in and around Mexico City was an 8.0 – at least a million times the magnitude of what the celebrating fans may have caused.

Induced seismic activity has been measured from everything from nuclear testing to fracking.

Vidale studied the seismic activity around Seattle's CenturyLink Field earlier in the decade after the "beast quake," created by fans celebrating a Marshawn Lynch touchdown run during a playoff game in January 2011.

"It was mostly for fun," Vidale said. "It made us look at the instruments, since measuring these signals are often too small to distinguish. It's very hard to analyze."

It's also highly unlikely fan-induced temblors would trigger larger seismic activity.

Looking at the footage from the celebrations in Mexico City on Sunday, it's easy to see how the ground could have shook.

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