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Strain can build up in the Earth’s crust through various processes, as tectonic activity, tidal action and human activity such as dams and reservoirs. Dr. Michael Persinger 3, 4 and Dr. John Derr have both hypothesized that strain fields within the Earth’s crust may produce electromagnetic discharges that can manifest by becoming visible as a moving body of light. Marsha Adams’ work supports this hypothesis as she has observed fluctuations in Extremely Low Frequency electromagnetic emissions prior to earthquakes.5 Reports of light observations have been made over a large radius from the epicenter of large earthquakes before they occur. When lights are seen in an area prior to an earthquake, they are called “earthquake lights”.
Although this is one of the more attractive proposed mechanisms for Earthlights, it probably does not explain all of the valid sightings. Earthlights do occur near areas with seismically active histories such as Marfa Texas. However Earthlights are rarely seen in other known seismically active areas such as California. Additionally, lights are seen in areas of low seismic activity such as Hessdalen Valley. So although this theory may explain some of the lights it is not likely to be the explanation for all of them.