It was reported that during the Fifa World Cup match between Mexico and Germany, Mexico’s winning goal was met with such jubilation, that the fans jumping in unison caused an artificial earthquake which was picked up by seismographic sensors.
This leads me to think of one further question; what would happen if every single person on Earth jumped at the exact same time?
There are more than 7 billion of us on this planet, so what if we all got together in one place and collectively jumped? Interestingly, if you took the entire human population of Earth and had them live in one place, with the same density that people experience in Paris, you could fit everyone, all of us, into metropolitan France alone.
However that’s living, not simply standing in a crowd, which is how we would hypothetically do the jump. Interestingly if every single person alive on Earth stood shoulder to shoulder, you could fit all of us into the city of London. It would be an incredible sight to behold, a mere 1,500 Km² containing every single person on Earth.
So picture the entire population standing together and then everyone jumps into the air. What do you think would happen – would we crack the earth’s surface, would we shift the earth? Unfortunately, the reality is ‘not very much’. As much as we would like to make an impact, our collective mass compared to the mass of the entire Earth is peanuts!
In fact, it is calculated that if all of us were to get together in one location and all jump 30cm into the air at the exact same time, Earth would only travel about 1/100th of the width of a single Hydrogen atom away from us, before subsequently moving back to where it started!
So, our collective jump won’t be able to change Earth’s position in space, but 7 billion people all jumping must surely be able to cause some sort of seismic activity? The BBC asked 50,000 people to jump in the same place and same time. They discovered that 1.5km away, it registered a modest 0.6 on the Richter scale. Therefore, you would need 49 x 1015 people to cause a 7.0 earthquake; to put that into context – that is 7 million times the current population on Earth!
However, our collective jump would contain a serious amount of energy. Even if only the population of China got together and collectively jumped, their jump would be the equivalent of 500 tons of TNT. But then again, 500 tons of TNT does not do much to an Earth that weighs 6 x 1036 tons.
So to answer the question in the title: not much!
Outhmane, Consultant, Leyton France