A video footage of an alleged lightning, seen before the 7.8-magnitude Ecuador earthquake Sunday, has been doing the rounds online.
Journalists from an Ecuadorian newspaper El Universo noted in a report the appearance of the strange light. Residents of the cities of Guayaquil and Duran also saw the light, as there was a power outage in those cities.
According to the Euro News, a Twitter user named Roland Chavez, who claimed to be a scholar of solar phenomena on his profile, shared the controversial photo, which went viral as soon as it’s gone online. But Chavez has since deleted the photo, as of this writing. As it turned out, Chevez’ photo was a hoax.
But that doesn’t mean the occurrence of the strange is impossible. In fact, in 2014, a team of researchers from Rutgers University has provided science-backed evidences that prove the existence of the light, which then called as the ‘earthquake light’, the Washington Post reported.
Such light, according to the scientists, is produced when landslips in the geological fault that generated the earthquake. The intense energy in this contact area produces electric charge, hence the light. Rutgers University Scientists added that these so-called ‘earthquake lights’, may occur either before or during an active earthquake.
Engr. Troy Shimbrot of the Rutgers University, during their research presentation before the American Physical Society in March 2014, said in order to prove the occurrence of such light, they created a miniature model of earthquake that mimics the dynamics of an earthquake.
“Our first suspicion was that this has to be a mistake. We did many tests to try to rule out these spurious effects, and so far we have failed,” Shimbrot was quoted as saying by the Washington Post in its March 2014 report. Shimbrot’s team, however, failed to provide rational explanation on the changing of voltage when the ground opens and as it closes.