For a long time, some have said that they saw unexplainable lights in the sky during an earthquake. These claims were believed to be legends up to the mid twentieth century, when photographic proof influenced researchers to recognize that they could be true. That prompted a whirlwind of hypotheses about what causes them until 2014, when a group of scientists came to a promising conclusion.
The Credulous And The Skeptical
In September this year, an extent 8.1 quake hit off the shoreline of Mexico, which was the biggest in the past hundred years. In the midst of the unfortunate news of death and devastation, there was different story of people claiming they saw strange glimmering lights in the sky during the earthquake whereas lot of them thought it was UFOs or the end of the world. Recordings had appeared showing strange lights on the cloudy sky above Mexico City.
In the past century there were accounts on lights in different colors, during, and after earthquakes. Regardless of that, the majority of the researchers didn’t believe them. There were such accounts also in a paper from 1888 but not believing these lights were associated with the earthquake.
A Theory Appears
However, when lights were seen at the sky during a 1965 earthquake in Nagano, Japan, some had cameras. Finally, researchers started to recognize the phenomenon and started searching for the reasons it appears. Many presumed it was because of some kind of electric field appearing because of the moving of rocks, however that has been difficult to confirm in the lab.
Nevertheless in 2014, science received its best possible answer. A group of scientists led by Robert Thériault researched the conditions of 65 earthquakes for which there were accounts that were accompanied by lights all the way from the seventeenth century to understand what their similarities were. They concluded that there’s why the lights are so uncommon: although 95 % earthquakes happen at the limits between tectonic plates, 85 % occurred when a one tectonic plate splits in continental breaking. The latter sort of earthquake happens just 5% of the time.
So what’s going on? Quakes commence as climbing stress somewhere down in the Earth’s crust— just when that stress is released. However, before it hits, the stress breaks the ties among sets of negatively charged oxygen atoms. Those atoms are discharged and break through the stone and appear at the surface, where they collect. According to the scientists those oxygen particles provide pockets of air an electric charge, transforming them into sparkling plasma. This could clarify the lights, as well as why they have been seen before and during an earthquake: tectonic stress can develop for a long time. If this is true, these lights might be a helpful warning of an approaching earthquake.