Fan quake? Or earthquake? U of U fans go seismic at Rice Eccles

Sep 1, 2023, 3:34 PM | Updated: 6:50 pm

Image of the University of Utah football team as they take the field during their season opener at ...

The Utes take the field in the opener against the Florida Gators in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023 during the season opener. This moment, as they took the field, registered on the seismic station positioned at the stadium, and so did many other moments. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The crowd at Rice Eccles Stadium broke records Thursday night when the University of Utah Utes beat the Florida Gators 24-11 in the Ute’s season opener.

The stadium-record 53,644 fans, and their excitement when the Ute’s first offensive play led to a 70-yard touchdown, was made clear by a seismograph provided by the University of Utah Seismograph Stations.

Jamie Farrell, an associate research professor and seismographer at the University of Utah told KSL NewsRadio that the crowd’s reaction to that touchdown was similar to a 1.5 magnitude earthquake. And that wasn’t even the strongest activity registered by the seismograph station at the stadium.


“Actually the biggest amplitude shaking for the entire game …  was probably when the team ran out of the tunnel at the beginning of the game,” Farrell said.

And something interesting happened right before the team took the field at the beginning of the game, and Farrell said that’s the reason it registered on their machines.

“Prior to the team running out of the tunnel, they played music on the speaker system,” he said. “And it makes everybody in the stadium jump up and down in unison, and that makes the ground shaking even bigger than just random jumping.”

You could say it was a — team effort.

And, don’t tell the team, but Farrell said that some of the other readings came not when the team was on the field, but during timeouts when music was blasting.

Other reading:




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Fan quake? Or earthquake? U of U fans go seismic at Rice Eccles