They have been linked to UFOs and hallucinations and thought to be harbingers of doom. Now scientists claim to have unravelled more details about a family of mysterious floating orbs, known as ‘earthquake lights ‘The lights, which take many forms and appear before or during earthquakes, could provide an early warning sign.
For instance, seconds before the 2009 L’Aquila, Italy earthquake struck, pedestrians saw 10cm high flames of light flickering above the stone-paved Francesco Crispi Avenue in the town’s historical city centre.
In 1988 a bright purple-pink globe of light moved through the sky along the St. Lawrence River near the city of Quebec, 11 days before a powerful quake.
The rare earthquake lights are more likely to occur on or near a rift, an elongated depression or trough in the Earth’s crust bounded on both sides by normal faults, than other faults.