Seismic Activity: Penn State Student Measures Whiteout and Finds Earth-Shaking Results

By Nick Polak on November 20, 2019 at 8:30 am
Oct 19, 2019; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State students cheer during the third quarter against the Michigan Wolverines at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Michigan 28-21.
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Fan bases everywhere have always taken great pride in their home stadiums. Whether it be the tailgating scene, irreplaceable men's room troughs, or 30-minute lines for chicken baskets, Penn State fans have plenty of reasons to feel pride when discussing their beloved Beaver Stadium.

The thing that really makes Beaver Stadium special, however, are the fans inside of it. There are few environments in collegiate or professional sports that can be as intimidating for opponents than the full and rocking 106,572-seat stadium plopped in The-Middle-Of-Nowhere, Pennsylvania. Especially when the forecast is calling for Whiteout conditions.

Unfortunately for the Michigan Wolverines, they had to deal with such conditions earlier this season, and the result was a 28-21 win for the Nittany Lions. For Penn State student, Lindsey Jacks, it was a night of joy while reveling in another Nittany Lions victory, but also a night of discovery. Jacks, a Spanish and geoscience major, decided to use three seismometers to find out just how loud a Whiteout crowd can truly be. I'll let her research do the talking from here.

Clearly, the Penn State faithful listened to James Franklin's plea.

Though Jacks was only able to gather data from this game, she told me that if she could go back, she would want to run a similar study during the Marcus Allen blocked kick in 2016, the Saquon Barkley kick return in 2017, and Trace McSorley's farewell to the student section in 2018. One would have to imagine that those results would be perhaps even more astounding to see.

Thank you to Lindsey for being willing to share her images and her thoughts!

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