The phenomena of earthquake lights, mysterious lights in the sky during seismic activity, is still not clearly understood (check out the previous post about Earthquake Lights). Now, new research reveals interesting discoveries that might give a better scientific explanation about the phenomena. A presented research at the Bulletin of the American Physical Society, APS March Meeting in Denver, Colorado demonstrates that high voltage signals can be generated by shifting soil layers. This process could result in a substantial electrical discharge. The authors explain that the phenomena can be simply reproduced by filling a plastic container with flour and tipping it back and forth until cracks appear.
On a larger geophysical scale, during large catastrophic slip events (such as landslides and earthquakes) such a process can potentially be responsible for the observed earthquake lights.
Read the abstract here. http://absimage.aps.org
Read the interview with Professor Troy Shinbrot: