Earthquake in Morocco: Light Puzzle Researchers

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Earthquake in Morocco: Light Puzzle Researchers

Shortly before the major earthquake in Morocco last Friday, which killed almost 3,000 people, a strange light phenomenon strikingly reminiscent of lightning was reportedly observed in the night sky. These may have been so-called earthquake lights (EQLs).

The cause of the bluish glow is intensively discussed on social media. The light phenomenon is likely a phenomenon called Earthquake Lights (EQL). These bursts of bright, sometimes dancing light in different colors are still a mystery. To date, there is no scientific consensus on its cause. Some researchers doubt whether there is solid evidence for this.

Geophysicist: Earthquake lights “absolutely real”
For retired geophysicist John Derr, who has co-authored several scientific studies on the subject of EQLs, the earthquake lights are “absolutely real,” as he told CNN. Whether you see glowing phenomena (see video in tweet) depends on darkness and other favorable factors, according to the researcher, who worked at the US Geological Survey (USGS) earthquake station.

Together with fellow researchers, Derr evaluated information on 65 American and European earthquakes against reliable earthquake light reports and published the results in 2014 in the journal Seismological Research Letters.

Usually observed during strong earthquakes
The scientists found that about 80 percent of EQLs were observed in earthquakes with magnitudes greater than 5.0. In most cases, the phenomenon was observed shortly before or during the seismic event and was visible at a distance of up to 600 kilometers from the epicenter of the tremors. Earthquake lights were already described in ancient times by the Greek polymath Aristotle and the Roman writer Seneca.

It is not the first time that lights like those have been spotted in Morocco. They were only observed at the beginning of the year during major earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, and in Mexico in 2017 after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake.

There are fears of even higher numbers of victims
The exact magnitude of the earthquake disaster could not be anticipated even after a week. The earthquake killed nearly 3,000 people and injured more than 5,600 others, according to a report published Wednesday evening. However, there are fears that many more victims will be found as helpers advance into remote mountain villages.

Source: Krone

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