A team of scientists say they have solved a long-standing mystery of why UFO-lights sometimes appear just before an earthquake.
It now seems the lights may be the result of crystalline structure of the magmatic stones, which when subjected to intense pressure releases electrical energy.
Earthquake lights — known as ground lights — take a number of forms, including spheres of light orbs floating through air. Some have confused the lights with UFOs.
The results, reported in the journal Seismological Research Letters, reveals that among 65 events nearly 85 percent appeared on or near intraplate faults. More impressively, ninety-seven percent appeared adjacent to subvertical faults, according to researchers.
Scientists say the magnitude of the earthquakes does not seem to affect the luminosity of the lights. According to researchers, the earthquake lights vary in shape and brightness, the most commonly appeared as globular luminous air masses. Some have described the lights as flickering flames or floating, glowing orbs of light. A number of sightings were recorded before the world’s greatest earthquakes, including two days before the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906.
The study is likely to put to bed a number of conspiracy theories regarding the lights. A number of witness have in the past reported seeing the lights before an earthquake struck, and security cameras have begun to capture a large number of light flashes, sparking interest in their origins.
The origins of these lights remained unclear until scientists were able to analyze additional data concerning Earth’s geology. Scientists say one of the major breakthroughs came with the advent of camera phones. The team noted that additional footage footage of lights appearing before the Peru earthquake in 2007 and the massive Italian earthquake in 2009 allowed them to better understand the origins of the light balls.
While the origins of the light orbs is likely put to rest, scientists say a number of mysteries still remain.
“The numbers are striking and unexpected. We don’t know quite yet why more earthquake light events are related to rift environments than other types of faults, but unlike other faults that may dip at a 30-35 degree angle, such as in subduction zones, subvertical faults characterize the rift environments in these cases,” said one researcher.