Collective Motion of Humans in Mosh and Circle Pits at Heavy Metal Concerts
Jesse L. Silverberg, Matthew Bierbaum, James P. Sethna, and Itai Cohen
The abstract is
Human collective behavior can vary from calm to panicked depending on social context. Using videos publicly available online, we study the highly energized collective motion of attendees at heavy metal concerts. We find these extreme social gatherings generate similarly extreme behaviors: a disordered gaslike state called a mosh pit and an ordered vortexlike state called a circle pit. Both phenomena are reproduced in flocking simulations demonstrating that human collective behavior is consistent with the predictions of simplified models.I thank Matt Davis for bringing the paper to my attention.
There is a news story here which links to a simulation.