Mexican World Cup fans set off earthquake detectors

Tremors blamed on ‘mass jumping’ following Hirving Lozano’s goal against Germany

Mexico football fan
(Image credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Rejoicing Mexican fans celebrating their team’s match-winning goal against Germany in the World Cup may have triggered a mini-earthquake.

On Sunday morning, earthquake monitoring stations in Mexico City detected a small tremor which appeared to have no natural cause.

Seismologists believe the explanation for the mini-quake lies not in Mexico but in Russia. Moments before the detectors picked up on the seismic activity, 22-year-old winger Hirving Lozano tucked the ball into the corner of the German net in Mexico’s first World Cup match.

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It would prove to be the only goal of the game, giving Mexico a surprise victory over the heavily favoured German side.

In a tweet, SIMMSA - the seismological branch of the country’s Institute for Geological and Atmospheric Studies - said that the fans leaping out of their seats to celebrate the goal may have triggered the mini-quake, which was too slight to be noticed by humans.

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Man-made tremors are not an unknown phenomenon. “Induced seismic activity has been measured from everything from nuclear testing to fracking”, says USA Today.

“The earthquake detected in Mexico City was of artificial origin,” they wrote. “Possibly from mass jumping during the Mexico side’s goal in the World Cup.”

The feelgood explanation did not convince everyone, however. Arturo Iglesias, a geophysicist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, cast doubt upon the claims, telling Spanish daily El País that the idea that fan activity could trigger an earthquake was nothing more than a “leg-pull”.

“If a person jumps up and down besides a sensor, it picks it up, but that isn’t an earthquake,” he said.

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