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No. 82: Jul-Aug 1992

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Fluid Injection Causes Luminous Phenomena

"The first recorded sighting of earthquake lights (EQL) dates from 373 BC in Greece. The same report mentions extensive underground rivers, but it has taken over 2300 years and the development of statistical methods to suggest a connection among fluid pressure, earthquakes, and geophysical luminosities. Many of the sightings are treated as mystical experiences, depending on local cultural values. In Denver and Rangely, Colorado, and Attica, New York, these sightings correlate with earthquakes and injection of fluid into the earth for waste disposal or secondary oil recovery. In the New Madrid, Missouri, area, luminosities are highly correlated with flooding on the Mississippi River and tend to occur 9 months after high water. Enough luminosities, and radio emissions in the ULF band, are observed weeks to months before earthquakes to suggest that they be tested as a possible forecasting tool for the select places where they occur. The pattern of occurrence may delineate the progress of tectonic strain and so indicate the direction or even location of a future epicenter. Fluid moving through developing cracks may be the source of electrical energy which powers the EQL. A number of potential mechanisms should be considered, involving tectonic strain, exoelectron emission, streaming potential, EM excitation of water droplets, and the fault zone as an EM waveguide."

(Derr, John S., and Persinger, Michael A.; "Fluid Injection Causes Luminous Phenomena," paper presented at the 11th Annual Meeting, Society for Scientific Exploration, Princeton, NJ, June 11, 1992.)

From Science Frontiers #82, JUL-AUG 1992. 1992-2000 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