BGS news

Quake it off: Taylor Swift concerts shake Edinburgh

Seismometers around Edinburgh were triggered by the rapturous Murrayfield crowds over the weekend.

13/06/2024 By BGS Press
Murrayfield Stadium located in Edinburgh, Scotland - © Thomas Feige /
Murrayfield Stadium was host to the Taylor Swift Eras Tour concerts 7-9 June. Image source: © Thomas Feige /

Taylor Swift’s record-breaking concerts in Edinburgh have now been scientifically recognised as ‘ground shaking’, with earthquake readings being detected up to 6 km from the venue.

BGS monitoring stations around Edinburgh recorded seismic activity generated by the concerts. Each of the three evenings followed a similar seismographic pattern, with ‘…Ready For It?’ ‘Cruel Summer’ and ‘champagne problems’ resulting in the most significant seismic activity each night.

(Top) Seismograph showing ground velocity recorded 4km from the stadium and (bottom) spectrograph showing the power at each frequency (in BPM) during the concert on 7 June 2024. BGS © UKRI.
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(Top) Seismograph showing ground velocity recorded 4km from the stadium and (bottom) spectrograph showing the power at each frequency (in BPM) during the concert on 7 June 2024. BGS © UKRI.

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Analysis of the seismograph data suggests that the most enthusiastic dancing occurred on the Friday night, although crowds on each night generated their own significant readings.

Whilst the events were detected by sensitive scientific instruments designed to identify even the most minute seismic activity many kilometres away, the vibrations generated by the concert were unlikely to have been felt by anyone other that those in the immediate vicinity.

Seismographic data summary

  • The seismic activity from the concert was detected at two monitoring stations, the furthest of which was 6 km away at the BGS office in the Lyell Centre
  • The activity was mainly generated by fans dancing in time to the music and reached its peak at 160 beats per minute (bpm) during ‘…Ready For It?’, where the crowd was transmitting approximately 80 kW of power (equivalent to around 10 to16 car batteries)
  • Based on the maximum amplitude of motion (the distance the ground moves), the Friday night event was the most energetic by a small margin, recording 23.4 nanometres (nm) of movement, versus 22.8 nm and 23.3 nm on the Saturday and Sunday respectively
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BGS is the national body responsible for recording earthquakes to inform the Government, public, industry and regulators, and allow for a greater understanding of earthquake risk and plan for future events.

It’s amazing that we’ve been able to measure the reaction of thousands of concert goers remotely through our data. The opportunity to explore a seismic activity created by a different kind of phenomenon has been a thrill.

Clearly Scotland’s reputation for providing some of the most enthusiastic audiences remains well intact!

Callum Harrison, BGS Seismologist.

BGS is the UK’s national earthquake monitoring agency and operates a network of monitoring stations around the country. Every year, as many as 300 naturally occurring earthquakes are detected in the UK, but only around 30 are of a high enough magnitude to be felt by people. Induced seismic events, those caused by human activity such as sonic booms, are also recorded.

Further information, including a live feed of recent UK earthquakes, is available on the BGS website.

*This article was updated on 13/6/24 to correct the energy comparison to car batteries.

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