What are earthquake lights?
Phenomena such as sheet lightning, balls of light, streamers, and steady glows, reported in association with earthquakes are called earthquake lights (EQL). 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. Physics-based hypotheses have been proposed to explain specific classes of EQL reports, such as those in the immediate vicinity of the causative fault at the time of a major earthquake. On the other hand, some reports of EQL have turned out to be associated with electricity arcing from the power lines shaking.
Why do earthquakes in other countries seem to cause more damage and casualties than earthquakes in the U.S.?
Are You Safe When A Natural Hazard Strikes? Learn How Science Can Help Reduce the Risk of Loss of Life and Property When Natural Hazards Occur
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With a press run of more than three million copies, "The Next Big Earthquake In The Bay Area May Come Sooner Than You Think-- Are You Prepared?" is the most widely distributed publication ever prepared by the U.S. Geological Survey. Nine years after it’s publication, it is still available from the USGS, and still helpful as a preparedness guide for Bay Area residents.
Damage to buildings in Cushing, Oklahoma from the magnitude 5.0 earthquake on November 6, 2016. Unreinforced brick and stone masonry buildings and facades are vulnerable to strong shaking. Photograph credit: Dolan Paris, USGS
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's VISIONS—VISualizing Ion Outflow via Neutral atom imaging during a Substorm—sounding rocket mission is studying what makes auroras and how they affect Earth’s atmosphere. The VISIONS rocket was launched at night in Poker Flats, Alaska, in February 2013. Credit: Joshua Strang, U.S. Air Force
Damage to a village house. Longxingcun.