On 21-March 2023 at 16:47 UTC, an M 6.5 earthquake was recorded in the Hindu Kush region, 40 km SSE of Jurm, Afghanistan (36.523°N 70.979°E). The effects were felt over a wide area in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and other neighboring countries. The quake was noticed at around 10:30 PM in the Haryana district of India, northwest of New Delhi. It was in the town of Yamunanagar where several people recorded lights in the sky soon after the quake and published these videos on social media calling them “earthquake lights” (EQLs).
There were at least three different videos posted to Twitter that showed a fixed spot in the cloudy night sky that is changing colors. The colors cycle in a uniform pattern across the span of a few seconds – orange-red-purple-blue-green. Then repeated. All of the videos appeared to be of the same phenomenon, in the same town, although different locations were mistakenly given in copied social media posts. However, it has not been determined if all the videos were taken on the night of 21-March in association with the quake.
It appears that any lights in the sky associated with the perception of earthquake shaking will be called “earthquake lights” even when they are manufactured, a result of damage to power lines, or storm-related lightning – I’ll call these “pseudoEQLs” because they are not a result of earth stresses affecting the atmosphere.
Videos of the pseudoEQLs are now so well known that people look for lights in response to earthquake shaking. When they find them, they are attributed to the quake because they have been repeatedly told by media misinformation that this is so.