WATCH: ‘Earthquake Lights’ Illuminate Skies of New Zealand
After a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck New Zealand’s South Island early Monday, killing at least two people. The earthquake damaged multiple buildings, and prompted emergency services to warn people along the coast to move to higher ground to avoid tsunami waves.
The quake struck 55 miles northeast of the city of Christchurch just after midnight local time on Monday.
Videos have begun to emerge of an illuminating phenomena. The spectacular lights are allegedly the result of the electrical properties of certain rocks in very specific settings.
A paper published in science journal Seismological Research Letters hypothesised that the phenomenon is a result of positive charge generated along stress gradients that “accumulate at the surface”.
High-density accumulations of charged atoms are thought to ionise pockets of air which form light-emitting plasma.