Geology And Geophysics

Underground Lightning may cause Earthquake and Volcanic Events

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Emerging science of the titanic forces that trigger earthquakes and volcanoes suggests that underground lightning may play a significant role.

Earth is like a gigantic capacitor. The planet can be charged and discharged by rotating external electric fields that are in a state of flux.

The phenomenon of subterranean lightning traveling through huge deposits of quartz along earthquake fault lines may be at least part of the geology that triggers higher magnitude quakes and violent volcanic eruptions.

Volcanic lightning

Unlike atmospheric lightning and the meteorological theories that explain it, volcanic lightning operates through different physics.

While many scientists assume that the same physical process drives both atmospheric and geological lightning, no experimental evidence exists that supports that contention.

For at least several centuries, observers of volcanic eruptions have noted lightning bolts springing into being within super-heated ash clouds spewing from erupting calderas. Many modern-day photographs have documented the phenomenon.

Anecdotal evidence of volcanic lightning has existed for many thousands of years.

Recent eruptions, such as those in Indonesia, Iceland and the Mount Chaiten eruption in Chile during May 2008, generated eyewitness reports from vulcanologist of gigantic lightning bolts, numerous ball lightning plasmas and other bizarre electrical phenomena. An intense lightning storm broke out over the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland that lit up the entire region for miles.

The nature of telluric currents

Caused by both natural and artificial interaction with the geomagnetic field, low frequency telluric currents have been recognized and used by humans for centuries. The currents mostly occur in the mantle and crust of the earth and interact in a complex pattern that's not yet fully understood. They travel towards the equator during the day and the polar regions at night. They are constantly on the move and appear everywhere on the globe constantly.

The currents are related to—and influenced by—the earth's magnetic field. They are linked to atmospheric lightning and to subterranean episodes of lightning discharge, or underground lightning storms.

because of their electrical properties they are successfully used as "earth batteries" and even helped power the telegraph system during the 19th Century. Today they are accessed to assist in such things as subterranean mapping for geothermal, water, mining and petroleum projects, and for determining such things as volcanic conduits and tectonic plate fault lines.  

Geophysicists have found that a low frequency window appears when the currents travel through the substrata of earth. When that occurs the planet acts as a conductor and resonates thousands of amperes of raw energy.

The sun too can play a role affecting the current deep inside the earth with the interaction of geomagnetic storms interacting with the planet's liquid core generated magnetic field. Solar flares tend to strengthen and increase the speed of the current and initiate resonating oscillations in the troposphere and ionosphere.

"Thousands of amperes flow beneath the surface, varying according to conductivity. Since the Sun can affect Earth's magnetic field through geomagnetic storms, fluctuations in telluric currents can occur when there is an increase in sunspots or solar flares, because they create oscillations through the mesosphere into the ionosphere. " [David Talbott, <>]

Telluric currents, quartz and earthquakes

The troposphere and stratosphere conduct electrical discharges through water vapor. Similarly, liquid magma can conduct the electricity of the telluric current. The charges underground become attracted to opposite electrified charges in the ionosphere. The resulting pressures create intense force that release magnitudes of spontaneous discharges detonating underground and directed and intensified along fault lines by huge deposits of quartz.

A recent study conducted by two geophysicists—Utah State University's Anthony Lowry and his colleague at the University of London, Marta Perez-Gussiny—found evidence that the mineral quartz may hold the key to earthquake prediction.

Using Earthscope—a new technology that employs deep scanning sensors—the two scientists were able to determine that quartz is evident primarily in areas of the earth with weakened crust. Such geological hot spots are highly likely to generate earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

The telltale mineral was present along mountain ranges and fault lines. Using a matrix of portable seismic equipment, they collected data on the gravity and temperature variances spanning the Western U.S.

The data revealed that quartz was always present during their investigations from Idaho to Nevada and Utah. California was rife with quartz also, especially along the San Andreas and other minor fault lines.

Calling the discovery of the strong correlation "eye-popping," Lowry and Perez-Gussinye's study reveals how the mineral soaks up and stores water. They explain how all the water suddenly escapes when the quartz is subjected to intense pressure. That release of water permits the rocks comprising the earth's faults to slide, break free and thrust. Lowry calls the process a "viscous cycle."

But what "intense pressure" causes the explosive release of energy from the quartz? Subterranean thunderstorms.

Interacting with the earth's magnetic field and the complex charges in the mantle, crust and ionosphere, massive electrical energy is generated and thrust through huge deposits of quartz. That can create harmonic "earth songs" and dancing colors in the sky—even during broad daylight—sights and sounds many witnesses have attested to seeing hours, sometimes days, before great quakes.

Electricity powers life. It powers the earth and the solar system.

Sometimes it powers earthquakes and volcanoes too.

More about this author: Terrence Aym

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