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It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s … an earthquake?

For hundreds of years there have been reports of strange lights during earthquakes, now scientists are trying to figure out what they are

September 14, 2011

The reports read like science fiction: “Fireballs a few meters in diameter often popped out of the ground in a repetitive manner at distances of up to only a few meters away from the observers.” These observers may sound crazy, but they’re not. They’re actually describing a real phenomenon called earthquake lights. Scienceline talks to David Brumbaugh, director of the Arizona Earthquake Information Center about these lights and what might cause them.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s… an earthquake? by Scienceline

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About the Author

Rose Eveleth graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a B.S. in ecology and a minor in writing. She spent the last four years there poking around in labs, studying krill, climbing trees, riding bikes and perfecting her fish doodles. A sucker for being lost in strange places, she recently wandered her way through Costa Rica, Portugal, Tokyo and Bonaire and is excited to take her wandering to the epicenter of strange places, New York City.

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