Experiments at Rutgers lend credence to existence of ‘earthquake lights’ (Washington Post)

The air suddenly feels different. Dogs begin to howl, and the horses become restless. A burst of bright light, and seconds later, the ground starts to rumble and shake.

Earthquake precursors — from strange animal behavior to temperature anomalies — may sound like urban legends, but new findings have lent some scientific credence to one phenomenon called earthquake lights. The aerial flashes of light seen before or during temblors may have to do with large jumps in electrical activity as the earth cracks open.

The results were presented at the American Physical Society’s March Meeting in Denver on Thursday by Rutgers University biomedical engineer Troy Shinbrot. His lab has created a miniature model of earthquake-like jamming and cracking, and has found huge voltage jumps that result from the shifting of granular material used to mimic the earth.

Read full coverage at the Washington Post.

BBC: Clue to earthquake lightning mystery