User Tools

    Please register ( or log-in ) to create and edit pages
  • Register

Site Tools

Wikenigma - an Encyclopedia of Unknowns Wikenigma - an Encyclopedia of the Unknown Wikenigma - an Encyclopaedia of Unknowns Wikenigma - an Encyclopaedia of the Unknown

Earthquake lights

'Earthquake Lights' [ EQL ] are airborne luminosities associated with seismic activity - reports of them go back more than 2000 years.

“With the beginning of seismology as a science in the 19th century, many scholars devoted time to reporting luminosities associated with earthquake activity. To name a few, the Irish engineer Robert Mallet, the “founder of seismology”, published a five part catalog entitled “On the Facts of Earthquake Phenomena” (Mallet, 1851, 1852, 1853, 1854, 1855), in which numerous reports on earthquake luminosities can be found. His catalog, first presented to the British Association of Science, covers the years 1606 B.C. to 1842 A.D.. Ignazio Galli, an Italian priest who graduated in Natural Sciences, published in the early 1900s a catalog of 148 seismic events associated with different types of luminosities. His catalog covers the years 89 B.C. to 1910 A.D. and focuses mainly, but not exclusively, on European events (Galli, 1910). Other early researchers on the subject of earthquake lights (EQL) include the work of Taramelli and Mercalli (1888), De Ballore (1913), Terada (1931), Musya (1932), and Montandon (1948).”

The lights are reported to appear while an earthquake is occurring, although there have been sightings of lights before or after earthquakes. The light shapes are described as similar to those of the auroras, with a white to bluish hue, but occasionally they have been reported having a wider colour spectrum. The luminosity is reported to be visible for several seconds, but has also been reported to last for tens of minutes.

There are many fully documented occurrences, including recent photo and video evidence.

The phenomenon has yet to be explained, although there are several theories regarding their origin. See, as an example Prevalence of Earthquake Lights Associated with Rift Environments in Seismological Research Letters, 2014, which postulates that “tectonic strain theory” (which itself is poorly defined) may be responsible.

“Our study has shown that the vast majority of EQL (i.e., 97%) have been observed in the following three tectonic environments: (1) intraplate rifts or grabens; (2) back‐arc or pull‐apart rifts or grabens (or paleorifts) located inland from subduction zones (orogenic settings); and (3) strike‐slip or transform faults, irrespective of the tectonic setting. The common characteristic of these three geological settings appears to be the presence of deeply penetrating subvertical faults, which exact role, passive or active, in phole propagation and EQL formation has yet to be resolved.”

Note: 'phole' as mentioned above means 'a lack of electron' or 'positive hole'.

Also see : Hessdalen lights

Editor's Note : Much of the literature draws attention to the possible confusion between EQLs, which are an acknowledged geological phenomenon, and reports which claim they are UFOs.

    Share this page :