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CosmosUp | May 25, 2019

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Top 5 Captivating Facts About Earthquakes

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Earthquake Lights



For centuries, eyewitnesses have reported seeing mysterious lights appearing in the sky moments before or during major earthquakes. The lights were described alternately as bright flashes, blue flames, or faint rainbows that emerge from the ground and sometimes stretch up to 200 meters (650 ft).

Before the 1960s, geologists dismissed these reports as hallucinations, as no photographs or video footage existed. However, this changed in the mid-1960s, when series of earthquakes hit Nagano, Japan, giving skeptical geologists an excellent chance to document and finally acknowledge the phenomenon.

Several theories have been proposed to explain how earthquake lights form. One of them includes disruption of the Earth’s magnetic field by piezoelectric effect, which is caused by quartz rocks in the tectonic stress region.


However, since not every major earthquake is preceded by lightning, these theories haven’t yet been investigated

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