Mexico's World Cup Goal Didn't Just Stun Germany; It Caused an Earthquake

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When these fans celebrated, the planet took notice. Jefferson Bernardes/Shutterstock

When Hirving Lozano scored the first goal for Mexico in the opening match against Germany on June 17, the celebration was earth-shaking — literally. Across the country, millions of people jumped in sheer jubilation.

The Earth, however, was not amused.

According to the Institute of Geological and Atmospheric Investigations (IGEA), the mass jumpathon prompted an angry response from the crusty old neighbor "downstairs."

The agency's sensors registered tremors at two sites in Mexico City — seven seconds after that soccer ball found the back of the net. That coincides convincingly with the 35th minute of play, when Lozano scored that goal. Researchers at IGEA are calling the resulting tremors an "artificial" earthquake.

What happens if we all jump at the same time?

But is that even possible? Could we all take to the air — all 7 billion of us, weighing some 800 billion pounds — and shake the Earth?

Well, it doesn't quite work that way. Despite all that mass jumping at the same time, scientists say we're too evenly distributed around the world to cause an earthquake.

As physicist Rhett Allain tells LiveScience, the lift-offs and impacts would cancel each other out.

But then there's the different matter of many people in one smaller area — like say, nearly the 9 million residents of Mexico City — taking to the air at the same time.

Well, that would likely put pressure on the Earth. Not so much to cause an all-out earthquake, but at least enough to set seismic detectors squiggling.

And it isn't the first time that's happened. Back in 2001, schoolchildren in England took part in a mass jump that reportedly sparked a tremblor.

At a Seattle Seahawks football game last year, fans were also blamed for irking the Earth; they were boisterous enough to spark what geologists call a "microearthquake."

On Sunday, the Mexican team did not score again — and perhaps, from a seismic perspective, that's for the best. But the World Cup is just getting started, so we might expect more jumps of earth-rattling joy around the globe.

If you're not a soccer fan, you can look it this way: the planet just grumbled and told us to keep the racket down. But let's face it, with so much national pride at stake and the intense emotions that brings, the planet — like non-fans — will just have to bury its head for a month or so while the rowdy neighbors enjoy the moment.