For thousands of years, human being has marvelled at the strange phenomena called earthlights (sometimes called ghostlights). To Native Americans these peculiar lights (which can appear as flickering flames or balls of light), marked the doorway to different realms. Others have claimed they are of extraterrestrial origin, whilst some folk associate them with ghosts or demons. The lights are certainly strange, and they appear all over the world. Sometimes they appear randomly, at others they may almost have a set routine. They come in a variety of colours, including red, orange, blue, yellow and white; they often seem to bob or bounce along. Until recently, there has been no conclusive answer as to what causes them. However, an analysis of over 65 documented earthlight cases published in the journal Seismological Research Letters this month, may have the answer. It seems the earthlights have appeared occurred during or before several of the world's greatest earthquakes; including two days before the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. Yet, because they were hard to explain, and all the reports were anecdotal, many scientists believed the lights did not exist. The scientists may now be convinced that the lights exist, but they are not entirely sure what causes them. The researchers studied 65 cases from North and South America and Europe. Of these, 97% seemed to happen at faults within continental plates. This is odd, as most large earthquakes happen at subduction boundaries where one plate is slipping below another. Surprisingly, about 85 percent of the lights happen in areas where the tops of the continental plates buckle; creating rifts, where the Earth pulls apart. The rifts form steep faults that reach deep down into the Earth's magma, allowing magmatic rocks, that were once buried deep below ground, to move nearer to the surface. The authors think that the crystal structure of these magmatic rocks means that when they are stressed, they are more likely to produce electricity; this then flows to the surface, ionizes the air, and produces flashes of light. According to John Derr, a Seismologist at the Albuquerque Seismological Laboratory, the earthquake lights also appeared at other nearly vertical faults, such as the San Andreas fault. He explained that the faults seem to make it easier for electrical charges in the rocks to reach the surface. It seems when it comes to earthlights, scientists have finally truly seen the light./\
Did You Know?
Angels appear in Judaism, Islam, Zoroastrianism and Christianity and are described as beautiful, wise and awesome find out more... Tap for more...by Patrick Arundell, contact Patrick on Google+, Facebook or Email.
Gremlins, those pesky critters who love to make sure machinery has a mind of its own, are fairly recent entrants into the folklore family. Find out more... Tap for more...by Patrick Arundell, contact Patrick on Google+, Facebook or Email.
Lilith Enters Scorpio
On 21st May 2016 'Lilith', also known as the Black Moon, entered the sign of Scorpio on her nine year journey... Tap for more...by Patrick Arundell, contact Patrick on Google+, Facebook or Email.
May Somerset Sigil
A strange etching on a church in Pitchcombe, Somerset has villagers scratching their heads, is it magic? find out more Tap for more...by Patrick Arundell, contact Patrick on Google+, Facebook or Email.
If you go down to the woods today, you could be in for a big surprise. You’ll see the oddest teddy bears’ picnic that ever met your eyes. Tap for more...by Patrick Arundell, contact Patrick on Google+, Facebook or Email.
No Sign of a Light
Mysterious things happening at the Eilean Mor lighthouse, explanations including pirates, ghosts, fairies and sea-witches but what did happen? Tap for more...by peter ward, contact peter on Google+, Facebook or Email.