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No. 55: Jan-Feb 1988

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The Zeitoun Luminous Phenomena

"Between April, 1968 and May, 1971, hundreds of thousands of people reported complex luminous events over a church in Cairo (Zeitoun), Egypt. Many of these events were photographed. Most of the luminous phenomena (LP) occurred during 1969 when seismic activity within the radius of less than 500 km was approximately a factor of 10 greater than for any single year before or afterwards. Whereas the distribution of epicenters around Zeitoun was randomly distributed for the years 1966 through 1968 and 1970 through 1972, there was a significant focus of their frequency during the year 1970. Most of them occurred off the coast of Gemsa, approximately 375 km to the southeast of Cairo."

Analysis of the LP and seismic records demonstrated a significant increase in the number of LP during the month of, or the month before, increases in the number of earthquakes per month. The relationship between LP and quakes was not, however, as strong as it had been for episodes of luminous phenomena in Toppenish, Washington; the Uintah Basin, Utah; Carman, Manitoba; and the New Madrid region in the central US. Still, the Zeitoun phenomena must be considered as supportive of the hypothesis that many LPs are associated with tectonic strain in the earth's crust.

(Derr, John S., and Persinger, Michael A.; "Temporal Association between the Zeitoun Luminous Phenomena and Regional Seismic Activity," The Explorer, 4:15, October 1987.)

From Science Frontiers #55, JAN-FEB 1988. 1988-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987