Modern science and technology has made it so that some natural disasters can be predicted - tornado sirens can alert residents about an approaching twister, hurricanes' paths can be plotted days in advance, and tsunami warnings can notify those in danger. However, when it comes to earthquakes, we are still caught off guard, but one strange phenomenon keeps occurring just before major quakes hit, perhaps to warn us – blue lights flashing in the sky.
The strange occurrence happened once again on Friday, moments before a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit Morocco and killed nearly 2,900 people. A security camera captured footage of the flashes, just three minutes before the disaster struck. In the clip, at the 20 second mark, there is a blue flash in the top left corner, then two seconds later, another one in the middle of the shot.
Most people might write it off as nothing of note, however, the blue flashes were also observed before the horrific earthquake in Turkey earlier this year that killed 45,000 people. In addition, they have been seen before quakes in Mexico in 2017, China in 2008 and Italy in 2009. In fact, they have been witnessed for decades, first getting filmed back in 1965 just before an earthquake hit Japan, though according to The Jerusalem Post, they have been reported for thousands of years.
Scientists have studied the mysterious earthquake lights, which are known as EQLs, to understand what they are. National Geographic explained that they might be caused by the movement of lithospheric plates releasing energy, the same plates that rub together and cause the quakes. One NASA researcher analyzed 65 EQL incidents and described them as "if you switched on a battery in the Earth's crust" in a published piece in Seismological Research Letters.
However not everyone is convinced. The U.S. Geological Survey has on their website, "Geophysicists differ on the extent to which they think that individual reports of unusual lighting near the time and epicenter of an earthquake actually represent EQL. Some doubt that any of the reports constitute solid evidence for EQL, whereas others think that at least some reports plausibly correspond to EQL."