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Mysterious phenomenon: when the sky lights up during an earthquake

Mysterious phenomenon: when the sky lights up during an earthquake

Shortly before the devastating earthquake that struck Morocco last week, the sky was said to have glowed blue.


People repeatedly notice a glow shortly before or during earthquakes. This phenomenon has been known since ancient times. So far there is no explanation for this.

no time? Blue News sums it up for you

  • Before or during some earthquakes, the sky briefly lights up blue.
  • This phenomenon is called light earthquake.
  • Last week, for example, when the ground shook in Morocco, the light appeared as a glowing floating ball in the sky.
  • It has not yet been fully clarified how this phenomenon appears.

Whether in Turkey in February or in Morocco in September or during earthquakes in ancient times: the sky always lights up blue shortly before or during earthquakes.

This phenomenon is called light earthquake. Sometimes it looks like lightning in a cloudy sky, and sometimes it looks like the northern lights. It recently appeared in Morocco in the form of glowing balls floating in the sky. Obviously the lights are not fake. People have also seen flames during earthquakes which were merely optical phenomena.

But it’s still there There is no definitive explanation for this phenomenon. This is also because it only occurs in a minority of earthquakes, Spiegel writes. In 2014, seismologist and geophysicist Jonathan Dear put forward the following thesis: deep, steep faults are needed. During an earthquake, electrical charges accumulate under great mechanical tension and rise to the Earth’s surface along these steep embankments, charging the air molecules. They explained the thesis in Seismic Research Letters.

In most earthquakes it does not light up

The researchers examined 65 earthquakes in Europe and America using earthquake lights since 1600. They could not explain why the lights were often turned off. In addition, other scientists complained that 65 earthquakes – many of which occurred before the 20th century – were too few to draw valid conclusions.

Friedman Freund of the University of San Jose offers another explanation: tectonic deformations would damage and contaminate the quartz crystals, and thus could generate electrical charges.

Eric Ferré of Southern Illinois University points out that earthquakes can produce temperatures of up to 1,700 degrees Celsius and high currents at blast points.

Or is it just short circuits?

Electrical energy is also seen as another reason, but in a more obvious way, as Wetter Online explains in an article: As earthquakes damage power lines and transformers, short circuits occur that can also lead to flashes of light. However, this thesis does not fit with phenomena that occurred before the nineteenth century.

Because the lights sometimes appear before an earthquake, some hope they can be used as a warning signal. However, further research into the causes is necessary.