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U.S. football celebrations register as minor earthquakes

By Karen Brooks

(Reuters) - Celebrations by Seattle football fans in a Monday night game against the New Orleans Saints were so thunderous that they registered as minor earthquakes on a nearby seismometer, a state university professor said.

The most intense rumble came after Seahawks' defensive end Michael Bennett recovered a fumble by New Orleans' quarterback Drew Brees in the first quarter and ran it back for a touchdown, said John Vidale, director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network at the University of Washington.

The cheering and foot-stamping at CenturyLink Field was picked up by a seismometer used by the network, which monitors ground motion in Washington and Oregon.

It measured between magnitude 1 and 2, Vidale said, and it was too small to be traced by the U.S. Geological Survey. Bennett's touchdown was the first of four by Seattle in their 34-7 win.

"Every time the Seahawks scored a touchdown, there was a (seismic) signal," said Vidale, whose network has its headquarters at the University of Washington's Department of Earth and Space Sciences.

The rivalry between the Seahawks and the Saints has caused tremors in the past.

The seismometer also registered the January 8, 2011, celebration of Marshawn Lynch's 67-yard touchdown run, which sealed a 41-36 playoff victory over the Saints.

(Reporting by Karen Brooks in Austin, Texas; Editing by Scott Malone, Cynthia Johnston and David Storey)

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