This thread will map "earthquake lights" of all types by date, time, location and include a user-generated description of the event. We will
color-code the events much like the earthquake maps so as to be able to readily discern the latest events worldwide.
All responses will be mapped real-time as you are the reporters and publishers of the information and we shall see if any type of pattern presents
itself. We can cross-link to similar maps that other members are doing such as "Rumbling noise being heard around the world..." and others that you,
the interested members, bring to the table.
Here is a brief overview of this phenomena to get us started.
Description: Area around Mt. Kimyo, 0325 (JST), September 26,
1966.(Matsushiro Quake, Japan)
Courtesy of the Earthquake Engineering Research Center, University of California, Berkeley, taken by T. Kuribayashi at 03:25 JST on 26th September
1966, by Mt. Kimyo, Japan. It was one of the photographs of the Matsushiro quake that brought EQLs to the brink of being officially recognized and
studied. The luminousity lasted approximately 90 seconds, and the camera was pointing north.
Earthquakes have long been accompanied by the appearance of "bright, luminescent, multicoloured sky glows" that can take place any time before,
during, or after the seismological event. They've been recorded throughout history, but modern science has only started to take them seriously since
the photographs of the Matsushiro earthquake lights taken by Yutaka Yasui between 1965 and 1967. There have since been extensive observations of
several events, but the phenomenon currently remains unexplained.
The first recorded mention of earthquake lights comes from Callisthenes (not Thucydides as is commonly reported), who wrote of an earthquake of 373 BC
that "[a]mong the many prodigies by which the destruction of the two cities, Helice and Buris, was foretold, especially notable were both the immense
columns of fire and the Delos earthquake." Powell and Finkelstein (1971) quote an old Japanese haiku that has been subsequently re-quoted in almost
every EQL summary written:
The earth speaks softly
To the mountain
And lights the sky.
An earthquake light is an unusual luminous aerial phenomenon that reportedly appears in the sky at or near areas of tectonic stress, seismic activity,
or volcanic eruptions. Once commonly challenged, it was not until photographs were taken during the Matsushiro earthquake swarm in Nagano, Japan, from
1965 through 1967, that the seismology community acknowledged their occurrence.
The lights are reported to appear while an earthquake is occurring, although there are reports of lights before or after earthquakes, such as reports
concerning the 1975 Kalapana earthquake. They are reported to have shapes similar to those of the auroras, with a white to bluish hue, but
occasionally they have been reported having a wider color spectrum. The luminosity is reported to be visible for several seconds, but has also been
reported to last for tens of minutes.
Accounts of viewable distance from the epicenter varies, in the 1930 Idu earthquake, lights were reported up to 70 miles from the epicenter.
Earthquake lights were reportedly spotted in Tianshui, Gansu, approximately 400 km north-northeast of the earthquakes epicenter. The phenomenon was
also widely observed and caught on film during the 2007 Peru, 2008 Sichuan, 2009 L'Aquila, and 2010 Chile earthquakes. The phenomenon was also
reported around the Aimuri Earthquake in New Zealand, that occurred 1 September 1888. The lights were visible in the morning of 1 September in
Reefton, and again on the 8th of September.
Extraordinary rainbow colored “lights” observed in China
"...so-called earthquake lights."
Earthquake lights are caused by an unknown mechanism. There are numerous theories as to how and why they occur.
One explanation involves intense electric fields created piezoelectrically by tectonic movements of rocks containing quartz.
Another possible explanation is local disruption of the Earth's magnetic field and/or ionosphere in the region of tectonic stress, resulting in the
observed glow effects either from ionospheric radiative recombination at lower altitudes and greater atmospheric pressure or as aurora. However, the
effect is clearly not pronounced or notably observed at all earthquake events and is yet to be directly experimentally verified.
There is also debate in the scientific community regarding radon as a possible precursor to some earthquakes, so another theory is that glowing clouds
might be light emission produced by ionization or plasma-chemical reactions. Wiki
And this from New Scientist in April 2008. This certainly adds a new twist to "predicting" earthquakes.
Can unusual clouds signal the possibility of an impending earthquake? That's the question being asked following the discovery of distinctive cloud
formations above an active fault in Iran before each of two large earthquakes occurred.
Geophysicists Guangmeng Guo and Bin Wang of Nanyang Normal University in Henan, China, noticed a gap in the clouds in satellite images from December
2004 that precisely matched the location of the main fault in southern Iran. It stretched for hundreds of kilometres, was visible for several hours
and remained in the same place, although the clouds around it were moving. At the same time, thermal images of the ground showed that the temperature
was higher along the fault. Sixty-nine days later, on 22 February 2005, an earthquake of magnitude 6.4 hit the area, killing more than 600 people.
In December 2005, a similar formation again appeared in the clouds for a few hours. Sixty-four days later, an earthquake of magnitude 6 shook the
One might postulate that the clouds had nothing to do with the quake because of the time between the events. It is interesting that the gap in the
lined up with the quake fault line. So are they now scanning for unusual (gaps that are stationary) occurrences in cloud
formations worldwide as similar in those two instances in Iran to possibly aid in the prediction of earthquakes?
And here we have further evidence of odd occurrences surrounding earthquakes in the form of lights and odd radio sounds correlating to earthquakes.
For decades, researchers have detected strange phenomena in the form of odd radio noise and eerie lights in the sky in the weeks, hours, and days
preceding earthquakes. But only recently have experts started systematically monitoring those phenomena and correlating them to earthquakes.
A light or glow in the sky sometimes heralds a big earthquake. On 17 January 1995, for example, there were 23 reported sightings in Kobe, Japan, of a
white, blue, or orange light extending some 200 meters in the air and spreading 1 to 8 kilometers across the ground. Hours later a 6.9-magnitude
earthquake killed more than 5,500 people. Sky watchers and geologists have documented similar lights before earthquakes elsewhere in Japan since the
1960s and in Canada in 1988.
Recent reports from Florida indicate an increase in "sounds" that have no apparent origination. Is it possible that it ties in to the following?
Lights, similar in description to ones seen in Chile during the
Another sign of an impending quake is a disturbance in the ultralow frequency (ULF) radio band--1 hertz and below--noticed in the weeks and more
dramatically in the hours before an earthquake. Researchers at Stanford University, in California, documented such signals before the 1989 Loma Prieta
quake, which devastated the San Francisco Bay Area, demolishing houses, fracturing freeways, and killing 63 people.
Both the lights and the radio waves appear to be electromagnetic disturbances that happen when crystalline rocks are deformed--or even broken--by the
slow grinding of the earth that occurs just before the dramatic slip that is an earthquake. Although a rock in its normal state is, of course, an
insulator, this cracking creates tremendous electric currents in the ground, which travel to the surface and into the
The magnitude 8.8 earthquake in Chile, according to several witnesses on the ground, was preceded by a mysterious light in the sky in much the same
way that two other earthquakes had witnesses come forward. The Haiti earthquake, and the earthquake in Sichuan, China in 2008 both reported
mysterious "eerie lights" above the sky, one of which was videotaped and broadcast on national
It is apparent that there is a lot that can be learned in this experiment and it looks to be quite interesting indeed.
Here is the map.
Earthquake Lights Map
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edit on 22/3/2011 by thorfourwinds because: lynx