I am so excited about this story. As a geologist who has studied anomalous phenomena connected to earthquakes, this is an excellent step forward to understanding earthquake lights. This will be of interest to Forteans, anomalists, geophysicists and even UFO chasers!
They’ve been mistaken for UFOs or dismissed as hallucinations. Now geologists have collected a near-definitive list of a rare but fascinating phenomenon — earthquake lights.
A study out Thursday in the journal Seismological Research Letters shows such quakes are tied to a specific type of temblor in areas where certain geological formations occur.
While rare, researchers were able to document 65 examples between 1600 and the present.
“When a powerful seismic wave runs through the ground and hits a layer of such rocks, it compresses the rocks with great pressure and speed, creating conditions under which large amounts of positive and negative electrical charges are generated,” he said. These charges can then travel together, allowing them to reach what’s called a plasma state, which can burst out and shoot up into the air.
Since looking into anomalies as precursors to quakes, I’ve understood that certain precursors, such as earthquake lights, ionospheric disturbances, strange animal behavior, gas releases or groundwater changes will not happen predictably before each event. We can not generalize earthquakes across the board and even one quake to another in the same area may be significantly different. This is why EQ lights are rare. They take a unique setup and stress to occur. But occur they DO.
People have chuckled at me when I’ve said I do believe there is certainly something to EQ lights, reports of strange animal behavior, etc. In this case, carefully documenting the anomalies panned out as a valuable activity. I am so excited for more research in this area.
Also, if anyone can get me a copy of this paper, I would certainly love to add it to my collection.
Here is a clip of earthquakes lights caught on camera, blue flashes on the horizon, during a quake in Peru.
Tip: Matt Crowley