Green and blue flashes They won the skies of Mexico during the 7.1 magnitude earthquake on the Richter scale, which had its epicenter 11 kilometers southeast of Acapulco and which shook the Federal District and surrounding areas on Tuesday night.
The show seemed worthy of a movie with amazing special effects. But it was reall. At first glance, the mysterious lights could have been mistaken for the usual discharges that conventional thunderstorms produce, although with a somewhat different hue. But the explanation of what was seen in Aztec territory is another.
It is a natural phenomenon called triboluminescence or “earthquake lights”, that beyond not being common, it can occur during earthquakes or volcanic eruptions. Tonight, his presence during the earthquake did not go unnoticed on the networks.
Questions about what was happening multiplied among the different Twitter users, despite the fact that a similar phenomenon occurred in the earthquake that country suffered in 2017.
Surprise and amazement were a constant in users, who they were looking for an explanation in the midst of the panorama of uncertainty that was presented while the earthquake was taking place.
There were even those who raised a “apocalyptic” scenario at the moment of wondering where the lights of the sky came from.
Through a graphic, the user @pictoline presented a “possible explanation” for the phenomenon.
According to a publication made by the Physics Institute of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in April of this year, triboluminescence is “a phenomenon in which through mechanical actions such as rubbing, grinding, agitation, friction or deformation, breaks occur in the chemical bonds of a certain material, thus producing flashes of light ”.
In this case, friction was generated in the rocks present in the tectonic plates of the earth’s crust, which when they entered into friction generated electrical discharges that rose to the surface and, when they came into contact with the atmosphere, manifested themselves in beams of light.
For his part, in a study published in 2001, Friedemann Freund, a NASA researcher, warned of the existence of latent electrical charges in the rocks that make up the earth’s crust and detailed their response to friction. “If the fatigue level is high, electrical charges arise giving the rocks the properties of a semiconductor body,” he explained.
“What happens when these electric charges reach the surface of the earth? These charges alter the nature of the terrain. A reasonable prediction would be that these emergent electric charges would cause the surface of the earth to acquire a positive charge covering a large area which it would measure from tens to hundreds of kilometers. The ionosphere would reflect these changes by consequence”, He said about the area that is located on the Earth’s atmosphere, between 90 and 300 kilometers of altitude.
Dimitar Ouzounov, Freund’s collaborator at NASA, summarized: “When the surface of the earth takes on a positive charge, charged ionosphere plasma reacts”.
Alarm in Mexico
An earthquake of magnitude 7.1 on the Richter scale shook Mexico City and surrounding regions on Tuesday night, with a balance of at least one dead, several areas without electricity and damage to some structures and buildings, according to the authorities.
Earthquake had its epicenter 11 km southeast of Acapulco, in southeastern Mexico, according to the National Seismological Service. The earthquake, late into the Mexican night -almost the Argentine morning, was also perceived moderately in some regions of the state of Puebla and with intensity in other cities of the State of Mexico. So far it has been recorded that the movement was also perceived in Michoacán, Morelos, Oaxaca and Veracruz.
The earthquake caused nervous breakdown in the center of Mexico City, whose inhabitants still have the tragic memory of the 7.1-degree earthquakes registered on September 19, 2017, and that of September 9 of the same year – almost exact to the current date – that they shook the center of the country and left 369 dead, the majority in the capital. Images of panic also invaded social media.