What was that strange light in the sky? An earthquake light?
Many people overnight reported seeing strange lights in the sky during the deadly New Zealand’s earthquake, a phenomenon that has been reported for centuries before, during, and after earthquakes.
Seismologists aren’t in agreement about the causes of the hotly-debated phenomenon, but it seems that earthquake lights also named earthquake lightning have been seen during the deadly New Zealand’s M7.5 earthquake.
Yes, strange lights appeared in the Wellington night sky during the 7.5-magnitude Kaikoura on Monday morning.
And, of course, it’s not clear whether the lights overnight in New Zealand were the phenomenon, or something else.
Historical reports include globes, or orbs, of glowing light, floating just above the ground or in the sky.
The phenomenon is however notoriously difficult to observe, study, and measure. Unfortunately, we cannot measure this phenomena or its extent with our instruments to provide a clear explanation.
One theory suggests dormant electrical charges in rocks are triggered by the stress of the Earth’s crust and plate tectonics, transferring the charge to the surface where it appears as light.
When such an intense charge state reaches the Earth’s surface and crosses the ground–air interface, it is expected to cause an electric transmission and breakdown of the air and, hence, an outburst of light.
This process is suspected to be responsible for flashes of light coming out of the ground and expanding to considerable heights at the time when seismic waves from a large earthquake pass by.
Other hypotheses suggest the movement of rocks could generate an electric field, others suggest quakes can lead to rocks conducting electromagnetic energy and a subsequent build up of electric charges in the upper atmosphere.
People reported similar strange lights in the sky during the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. In 1888, before a large quake around the Hanmer region, a strange glow in the sky was reported by observers.