Saturday, November 10, 2012

Earthquake lights, part 2 (tell your friends and family!)

The previous post discussed the subject of "earthquake lights," which appear to manifest themselves before, during, and after some powerful earthquakes and which are now at least partly accepted by the "scientific community," even if their cause is still the subject of debate.

Above is a video clip that was posted on YouTube and apparently taken during the powerful 8.8 earthquake which rocked Chile at 3:34 am on the morning of February 27, 2010.  This particular video was uploaded to YouTube the day after that earthquake, on February 28, 2010.  

During the video, the sky visibly lights up with bright blue flashes several times.  It is impossible to tell from this particular video, however, whether those flashes are caused by some man-made source, such as a major power station or power lines being disrupted by the violent shaking and sending off electrical explosions before shutting down.

In one paper linked in the previous post, studying luminous phenomena reported in Italy surrounding the 6.3 earthquake in Aquila, Abruzzo on April 6, 2009, some reported flashes were excluded due to the possibility that they were from man-made electrical sources, as well as anything that might have been caused by atmospheric conditions that were not necessarily linked to the earthquake.  For example, on page 969 of the original pagination (or page 3 of the pdf pagination), we read that:
 Roughly one hundred sightings were linked with natural phenomena such as sunsets, moon halos and fog illuminations.  For example, many witnesses reported seeing a strange moon light which appeared red and was surrounded by a small red halo.  This phenomenon was observed at nearly all the locations, from Amatrice to San Pio delle Camere.  In this study this phenomenon was considered to be atmospheric.  Additionally, eyewitnesses reported the breakdown of electrical lines.  Many flashes were also compatible with relatively small discharges coming from the ground during the main shock.  Being so, the flashes could have been short circuits, given that the area in and around Aquila is highly urbanised.  All of theses sightings which were identified as being of a natural or anthropogenic source, were excluded from the collection of luminous phenomena.
While some might dismiss the lights reported by eyewitnesses to the Chile earthquake as being only due to "anthropogenic" sources as well, it is probably best to leave both possibilities open -- in other words, to neither dismiss the possibility that the lights reported by eyewitnesses (and shown in the above video) could be due to man-made sources such as snapped power lines, short circuits, or electrical substations, nor to dismiss the possibility that the lights might have been caused by the earthquake itself, perhaps from plasma discharges coming up from the ground or from disruptions in the ionosphere that may be connected to powerful earthquakes.

Another famous eyewitness account from the powerful Chile earthquake of 2010 is the interview with freelance journalist Cecilia Lagos, who states that she "saw the sky changing colors."  While man-made electrical explosions might be expected to create sharp bursts of light, it seems less likely that they would cause the sky to be changing colors as described.  At the very least, this account would suggest that we should leave open the possibility that earthquake lights were present during the Chile quake.

The numerous eyewitness accounts described in the 2009 Aquila earthquake lights study suggests that earthquake lights do indeed come in many different colors.  For instance, beginning on page 970 (of the original pagination, or page 4 of the pdf) we read of eyewitnesses describing  "a red semicircle of light that covered the mountain," "flashes coming from below when observed from windows, particularly before the main shock," "light similar to a thin laser beam [. . .] white and clear blue," "luminous funnels, as conical structures of light, usually yellow, orange, or red, with very well defined bundles," "cones [. . .] all the same colour, that is, a mix of mostly yellow plus a little light red," "a horizontal beam of bright orange light," and even "discharges [. . .] less luminous than a lightning bolt [. . .] either white, green, or a shade ranging from red to violet."  All of this would appear to confirm the description given by Cecilia Lagos when she said that the sky was "changing colors."

The report of earthquake lights seen in Italy also tells us that:
Fiorella De Meo, from the West Aquila highway, remembers that at the tail end of the main shock and also after it, she saw about ten thin greenish blue electrical discharges to north just above Arischia and Cansatessa.  Each event was very brief, while together they lasted for about 10 s.  Some of the electrical discharges appeared simultaneously crossing each other.  De Meo saw no clouds, heard no noise and reported that the landscape was not lit.  971.
The collected reports above, as well as the "changing colors" reported by Cecilia Lagos in Chile, would appear to suggest some form of plasma activity, rather than simply man-made transformers blowing up.

Also, it should be pointed out that eyewitnesses accounts of phenomena which appear to be earthquake lights have been collected and published from survivors of powerful earthquakes well before the widespread use of electricity.   Here is a description of the "light flashes and glows" that many survivors of the New Madrid earthquakes (four powerful earthquakes that took place in December 1811 and January to February 1812 in what is now Missouri) reported, from page 46 of Myron Fuller's 1912 book on those earthquakes:
The phenomena of what may be termed "light flashes" and "glows" seem so improbable that they would be dismissed from consdieration but for the considerable number of localities from which they were reported.  Dillard, in speaking of the shocks (not especially the first one), says: "There issued no burning flames, but flashes such as would result from an explosion of gas, or from passing of electricity from cloud to cloud."  Lewis F. Linn, United States Senator, in a letter to the chairman of the Committee on Commerce, says the shock was accompanied "ever and anon [by] flashes of electricity, rendering the darkness doubly terrible."  Another evidently somewhat excited observer near New Madrid though he saw "many sparks of fire emitted from the earth."  At St. Louis gleams and flashes of light were frequently visible around the horizon in different directions, generally ascending from the earth.  In Livingston County, according to Mr. Riddick, the atmosphere previous to the shock of February 8 was remarkably luminous, objects being visible for considerable distances, although there was no moon.  "On this occasion the brightness was general, and did not proceed from any point or spot in the heavens.  It was broad and expanded, reaching from the zenith on every side toward the horizon.  It exhibited no flashes or coruscations, but, as long as it lasted, was a diffused illumination of the atmosphere on all sides.  At Bardstown there are reported to have been "frequent lights during the commotions."  At Knoxville, Tenn., at the end of the first shock, "two flashes of light, at intervals of about a minute, very much like distant lightning," were observed.  Farther east, in North Carolina, there were reported "three large extraordinary fires in the air; one appeared in an easterly direction, one in the north, and one in the south.  Their continuance was several hours; their size as large as a house on fire; the motion of the blaze was quite visible, but no sparks appeared."  At Savannah, Ga., the first shock is said to have been preceded by a flash of light.
That these sparks and flashes were not produced by power lines or electrical substations in the years 1811 and 1812 goes without saying.  It is also worth pointing out that, while many modern internet discussions of the luminous phenomena seen in Chile or in other recent large earthquakes mention the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (or HAARP), there was no such program in 1811 or 1812 nor is it likely that the knowledge existed at that time to create anything similar to HAARP.  This does not mean that there is no possibility of connections between modern earthquakes and HAARP, but it does mean that every report of astonishing flashes or lights associated with modern earthquakes does not automatically indicate involvement by HAARP or any other man-made program: earthquake lights from sources other than human activity almost certainly exist around some powerful earthquakes, as the eyewitness accounts from the early 1800s demonstrate.

As we have pointed out in previous discussions of this subject (such as this one), the hydroplate theory of Dr. Walt Brown suggests a different mechanism for the cause of most earthquakes than that proposed by the conventional tectonic theory.  If his theory is correct (and there is abundant evidence from many aspects of geology that appears to support his theory), it provides a scientific explanation for earthquake lights.  It also explains earthquakes that originate far from plate boundaries, including the New Madrid earthquakes in the southeastern US as well as earthquakes that continue to strike the eastern US to this day (such as today's magnitude 4.3 earthquake which originated in Kentucky and was felt as far away as Atlanta).

It is important that we do not rush to dismiss the phenomenon of earthquake lights as simply a "fringe" idea, or as a mistaken association of an earthquake with coincidental atmospheric conditions, or as the result of merely man-made electrical explosions or discharges due to short circuits, snapped power lines, or exploding transformers.  Beyond the fact that such hasty categorization could cause us to understand our world less accurately, a too-hasty dismissal of the phenomenon of earthquake lights could prevent us from pursuing avenues that could provide early warning and even save lives.

In fact, the study linked above examining reports of earthquake lights (or EQL) from the 2009 Aquila earthquake concludes with an account of a man who did have some familiarity with the connection between these weird light displays and the onset of powerful earthquakes, and who took warning from the luminous manifestations and used that early warning to make a few hasty preparations before the quake hit.  We read on page 976 (original pagination, or page 10 of the pdf), in the section entitled "Conclusions":
Finally, the experience of Carlo Strinella, who had knowledge of EQL, took measures to protect his family after interpreting some flashes he had sighted before the main shock.  This suggests that educating the general population about EQL phenomena could help save lives.
Since the general population does not seem to be receiving much education on this subject (at least I have never seen or heard any), please tell your friends and family about it!  Let's hope that the example of Carlo Strinella can be an inspiration to greater awareness of the mysterious and fascinating phenomenon of earthquake lights.