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strange flashes of lights before earthquakes hits

What are Earthquake Lights?

An Earthquake Light can be said to be a magical phenomenon that occurs in the sky around the areas of tectonic activity or volcanic eruptions. It can also result from certain seismic activities. Why we call it magical because no proof of their origin or the reason for their occurrence is listed clearly. Although researchers do believe that these bright lights occur due to tectonic activity but still the exact reason for its origin is to be found.

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Earthquake Light

In 2016 a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit New Zealand and an unusual celestial phenomenon was witnessed during this earthquake. Lights flashed through the sky in various colors. These earthquake lights are weird light streams that flash across different forms and colors. They can be in the form of floating balls of light hitting the ground or the lightning that emerges from the ground.

This phenomenon was witnessed for the first time in 373 BC in primordial Greece.  Several times people also mistake these lights for UFO’s.

Geophysicists also haven’t been able to come to a clear conclusion on how these earthquake lights are formed. But they have come up with certain theories. One of which is the piezoelectric effect, according to which the compression and movement of rocks produce electricity.

Another theory states that these lights are formed because of the rubbing of rocks against one another as in the case of static electricity. In 2014 Researches further tried to explain the cause of these earthquake lights in a research paper in Seismological Research Letters. This research was based on a thorough study of 65 reports of earthquake lights ever since the 1600s at different parts of the world. It was observed that these lights did not appear along subduction zones, where one plate jumps under the other. Rather 97 per cent occurred at faults inside continental plates, where the magmatic rocks from Earth’s mantle gradually move towards the surface. When these basalts and gabbros rocks, are strained, they release static electricity that unites and generate a plasma-like condition. As the super-charged gas moves up to the surface, it is capable of bursting in the air and henceforth reacting with the atmosphere to create the colorful lights.

Occurrences in the Past

It is not a regular phenomenon. It occurs in only five per cent of earthquakes across the world. Still no one ever really wishes to witness them, since they only occur around earthquakes. They have been witnesses in certain places like Italy, Peru, Japan, and China, among others.  

In several cases, people have seen these earthquake lights, several weeks prior to an earthquake and at a distance of 600 kilometers away from the epicentre. This is the farthest distance recorded, it may occur closer to the epicentre.  

It is uncertain though that whether or not they can be used as a source of predicting earthquakes, specifically because they are very rare. But at an instance, an Italian man took shelter along with his family after seeing a light outside his kitchen. Just after that, the 6.3-magnitude L’Aquila earthquake occurred. So we would just say stay alert, if you see striking lighting the sky, take a smart move.   

These are not proven facts and there is no proven phenomenon to prove the existence of these lights. There are video footages on the internet but yet the research is incomplete and no researcher has reached a definite conclusion.

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