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‘Earthquake lights’ scare people in Mexico to think apocalypse was happening

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A 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Mexico’s Acapulco on Wednesday, causing blue lights to flash across the sky. People took to social media to say an apocalypse was happening.

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Those who felt and saw the earthquake lights shared videos on Twitter saying it was “the apocalypse,” using the hashtag “apocalipsis,” the Spanish word for it.

Earthquake lights explained

According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), earthquake lights can be common.

The US government agency says the phenomena such as sheet lightning, balls of light, streamers, and steady glows, reported in association with earthquakes are called earthquake lights (EQL).

According to one scientist, this occurs “fairly regularly,” and it does not mean the world is ending, NPR reported.

“If it did, the apocalypse would have happened a thousand years ago when this was first discovered,” Rutgers University Physicist Troy Shinbrot told NPR.

He also said such occurrences of earthquake lights have been recorded in history.

According to the USGS, “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 scientists “doubt that any of the reports constitute solid evidence for EQL, whereas others think that at least some reports plausibly correspond to EQL,” according to the agency.

According to some scientists, the eruption of light, or luminosity, is possibly “caused by the friction of rock near Earth’s crust, which releases energy into the atmosphere. The flash of light is produced near the planet’s surface,” according to NPR.

Workers remove rocks on the Acapulco-Iguala highway after a quake in Acapulco, Guerrero state, Mexico on September 8, 2021. (AFP)
Workers remove rocks on the Acapulco-Iguala highway after a quake in Acapulco, Guerrero state, Mexico on September 8, 2021. (AFP)

One death reported in Mexico earthquake

According to media reports, at least one person died from the earthquake which damaged buildings in the Mexican city.

In a neighborhood in the capital, lights went off and scared residents rushed out, some wearing little more than pajamas. Residents hurdled together in the rain, holding young children or pets, too worried to return to their homes in the dark.

Read more:

Magnitude 7.4 quake strikes Mexico: US Geological Survey

Tropical Storm Nora on Mexico coast leaves one dead, seven missing