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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 11, issue 4 | Copyright

Special issue: Progress in research on earthquake precursors

Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 11, 1025-1036, 2011
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-11-1025-2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 05 Apr 2011

Research article | 05 Apr 2011

Co-seismic luminescence in Lima, 150 km from the epicenter of the Pisco, Peru earthquake of 15 August 2007

J. A. Heraud and J. A. Lira J. A. Heraud and J. A. Lira
  • Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru, Av. Universitaria 1801, Lima 32, Peru

Abstract. The first photographs of Co-seismic Luminescence, commonly known as Earthquake lights (EQLs), were reported in 1968 in Japan. However, there have been documented reports of luminescence associated with earthquakes since ancient times in different parts of the world. Besides this, there is modern scientific work dealing with evidence of and models for the production of such lights. During the Peru 15 August 2007 Mw=8.0 earthquake which occurred at 06:40 p.m. LT, hence dark in the southern wintertime, several EQLs were observed along the Peruvian coast and extensively reported in the capital city of Lima, about 150 km northwest of the epicenter. These lights were video-recorded by a security camera installed at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru (PUCP) campus and time-correlated with seismic ground accelerations registered at the seismological station on campus, analyzed and related to highly qualified eyewitness observations of the phenomena from other parts of the city and to other video recordings. We believe the evidence presented here contributes significantly to sustain the hypothesis that electromagnetic phenomena related to seismic activity can occur, at least during an earthquake. It is highly probable that continued research in luminescence and the use of magnetometers in studying electromagnetic activity and radon gas emanation detectors will contribute even more towards determining their occurrence during and probably prior to seismic activity.

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