Earthquake lights, mysterious luminous phenomena associated with seismic activity, can manifest in various forms such as lightning-like flashes, floating spheres, or even luminous clouds. A study involving 65 historical earthquakes dating back to 1600 found that 80% of earthquake light occurrences were linked to earthquakes of magnitude greater than 5.0 and usually appeared shortly before or during the quake. Rather than appearing at tectonic plate boundaries, these lights more often occurred within the plates, especially near rift valleys. Friedemann Freund proposes that these lights may be due to the generation of electricity when rocks under stress break apart.
- Earthquake lights have diverse appearances, ranging from lightning-like displays to glowing spheres or bands resembling polar auroras.
- Research on 65 historical quakes revealed that most earthquake light sightings were tied to earthquakes of magnitude greater than 5.0 and were visible up to 600 kilometers from the epicenter.
- Contrary to expectations, earthquake lights predominantly appeared within tectonic plates rather than at their boundaries, and were especially common near rift valleys.
- One theory posits that earthquake lights result from the generation of electricity when stressed rocks, containing certain defects, break apart.
- While the cause of earthquake lights remains debated among scientists, there’s hope they might eventually help in predicting upcoming major quakes.