Do rainbow clouds foretell earthquakes?

By Phil Plait | May 15, 2010 11:26 am

My friend Deric Hughes tipped me off to a new urban legend spreading around: rainbow clouds appearing in the sky shortly before earthquakes. Lots of folks are buzzing over this on Twitter, for example.

I’ll cut to the chase: these clouds are not physically related to earthquakes in any way. But how I know this will take a wee bit of explanation.

First, what’s a rainbow cloud? As you can see in the picture, it’s a cloud with the colors of the rainbow splashed across it. Sometimes these are called fire clouds, if the shape of the cloud resembles a fire (like in the picture above).

Second, what causes this effect? It’s pretty simple, actually. Ice crystals in the cloud act as little prisms, breaking up the sunlight into its component colors and spreading them out. It’s essentially the same thing that causes "real" rainbows, except with ice and not water droplets. The angle between the Sun, the cloud, and you is important as well, but the essential ingredients needed for this effect are icy clouds and sunlight. That’s it.

haloClouds with ice crystals happen all the time, and these rainbow effects (like sundogs, halos, and many others) are really common. In fact, for me it’s rare not to see something like this at least once a week, and more often in the winter. Even in the summer, high clouds can create these pretty events.

So what does this have to do with earthquakes?

Here’s a hint: nothing. What’s going on here is that people are seeing these clouds, and then within a day or two experience an earthquake. This links the two things in people’s minds. This isn’t surprising, since there’s a strong human tendency to link events together even if they’re unrelated; if one thing happens after another then we tend to think it was caused by (or is at least related to) that earlier event.

But this is a logical fallacy, which even has a wonderful Latin name: post hoc, ergo propter hoc, which means after this, therefore because of this. Sometimes two events which happen close together in time are related, but most of the time they aren’t. The hard part is telling the difference.

In the case of these clouds, I can be nearly 100% certain they are unrelated to earthquakes. Why? Because these clouds are super common, so you could tie them to anything. I saw a rainbow cloud, and then stepped in dog poop! I saw a rainbow cloud, and then found a dollar in the street! I saw a rainbow cloud, and then there was an earthquake!

california_quakesAnd remember, earthquakes are common as well. Even big ones happen all the time; magnitude 6 or greater earthquakes happen three times a week on average somewhere in the world. And, of course, small earthquakes are even more common; in just the United States alone there are more than 50 noticeable earthquakes every single day!

That ups the odds considerably.

That’s why urban legends like this one persist; someone gets this idea, and it’s quickly "confirmed" because someone sees a cloud and feels an earthquake. But they’re totally unrelated. It’s a natural and understandable tendency, but like an optical illusion you have to understand it’s your brain playing tricks on you.

Misconceptions like this never die; I know this for a fact because I wrote about this very topic almost exactly two years ago, in fact. As I said in that article:

I see things like this all the time, because I do something a lot of folks don’t do: I look up. Seriously, it’s that simple. When you do that, you get to see halos, sundogs, and arcs quite often. It’s usually in the winter, but it doesn’t have to be. You just need high, icy clouds.

In most cases, I think the antidote for legends like this one is simply paying attention. Don’t just go along for the ride! Look up! Look around! The world really is actually a really cool place, and it does pretty well without us needing to add any artificial connections to it.

Comments (81)

  1. John Swindle

    Even in this age of teabaggers and hate radio, I was unprepared for this astonishing level of ignorance.

  2. Jon Hanford

    And all along I thought these were chemtrails. Who knew! :)

  3. Ridge

    The legend or the theory is based on the premise that if a beam of 10-billion watts of effective radiation power (such as that possessed by HAARP) were to be directed towards the ionosphere and it bounces back to a specific target on earth, it will produce weather disturbances and earthquakes.

    One of the alleged indications that such a microwave/radio-frequency device is being used to cause the particular earthquake (according to Dr. Nick Begichs’ book Angel’s Don’t Play This HAARP – Advances in Tesla Technology) is the appearance of this rainbow-colored skies similar to the Aurora Borealis effect, which is also an ionospheric phenomenon involving the ionization or excitation of gases present there.

  4. Pete Goldie

    Serendipitously, I witnessed and photographed vivid rainbow clouds two days ago (Thursday 5/13) over Trona, California. Yesterday there was a 1.4 mag EQ near Trona. Case Closed. I sincerely regret not running from door to door screaming “RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! A RANDOM COINCIDENCE IS COMING!”.

  5. Michelle R

    that thing’s back? Yea, I beenfighting with people ever since the chinese one a few years back.

  6. jcm

    Like Carl Sagan said:

    We’re significance junkies.

    That is, we keep the hits and ignore the misses.

    Although, if there’s is a correlation between rainbow clouds and earthquakes (there is none), then we can also claim that the FSM is busily pulling the string trying to prove its existance.

  7. I love the end of your post Pete! I think I’ll make a bumper sticker out of that!

  8. Pete

    How freaking unfamiliar are we getting with Nature that we think rainbows are somehow unusual? I’ll tell you – watch this video(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_c6HsiixFS8&feature=player_embedded#!) and see how woo-woo people are getting.

  9. PaulC

    ” in just the United States alone there are more than 50 noticeable earthquakes every single day!”
    Citation please. I’m looking at the USGS real time Earthquake map

    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsus/

    and I don’t see anywhere near 50 noticeable quakes in the last week much less day.

  10. Ron1

    What’s the big deal?

    Believing rainbows foretell earthquakes is no worse than, well, believing in God.

  11. PaulC (#9): At that link there’s a table with historic earthquakes over the past decade. Add up the number in any random year greater than mag 3 and divide by 365.

  12. The Voice of Reason

    You’re right, I often visit the Abovetopsecret website….The website was buzzing with this myth!

  13. hjb

    Although interestingly a causal link between atmospheric weather and earthquakes has been proposed. See below

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8094083.stm
    http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090610/full/news.2009.561.html

  14. Geri

    This reminds me of what San Francisco Bay Area residents still call “earthquake weather.” The day/week of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake was a particularly warm one for an October, so now every time we have a warm stretch in the fall, people talk about “earthquake weather.” The fact that earthquakes occur deep beneath the surface and the temperature of the soil that far down doesn’t change based on the surface temperature doesn’t seem to register in people’s minds.

  15. Michelle

    “no worse than believing in God”?? Lame. Believing in God has at least some forms of proof, a lot more than a silly theory like this rainbow thing-which can be DISproven. God may not be able to be scientifically proven, but there is NO way to disprove He doesn’t exist either. But this rainbow thing clearly can.

  16. PaulC

    Ok I don’t mean to be a jerk about this (I promise really :) but if you go here

    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsus/Quakes/quakes_big.php

    Which is a list of M3.o greater Earthquakes in the last 7 days there are way less than 50 per day in the US. The occasional large quake will drive the number up with fore shocks and aftershocks but I really don’t think we’re going to hit 50.
    Could you link to the chart you were talking about?

  17. Jamey

    Geri – What if it’s not the temperature causing the effect? What if it’s related to rainfall, or air pressure? And um… Considering that you can see in quite a few places where the San Andreas has slipped *AT THE SURFACE* – earthquakes do not *only* occur deep below the surface.

    One suggestion I heard for the reason behind the occurance of rainbow clouds around the period of earthquakes had to do with the pressures and minor slippages causing piezocrystals in the Earth to generate charges, leading to increased ionization in the atmosphere around which the ice crystals can nucleate.

    Truthfully, a good bit of a stretch, but *meh* – has it been tested?

    For that matter, maybe astrology wasn’t about the gravitational pull of the planets affecting the Earth, but correlations with annual and short-term climatological cycles which have since gotten sufficiently out of synch to hide any current correlation?

    Correlation does not prove causation – but it does suggest that perhaps there is something to look at – and if you’ve read any of James Burke’s works on Connections, you’d find that cause can be a lot further away than you’d expect.

  18. Messier Tidy Upper

    Rainbow clouds are neat! :-)

    Connecting them with earthquakes without any good reason – not-so much. :roll:

    Folks need to ask themselves the simple question of “how on earth – & Sky – there could be a link” or, in a word, “causation ” here & think about what’s involved.

    Would it be fair to say these colourful clouds (& rainbows too) are natural solar spectroscopes? Certainly you have ice crystals acting as prisms to split white sunlight into its colours – how could this possibly connect with seismic activity – eg. earthquakes which involves movements of the faults and fractures beneath our feet?

    Sometimes these [rainbow clouds] are called fire clouds,

    Hmm .. I would’ve thought a nueee ardentes would be better termed a firecloud! ;-)

    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nu%C3%A9e_ardente )

  19. reidh

    You don’t seriously feel the NEED to debunk such an absurd notion, do you? What are you OCD? You know there is a church in S.F. that tells people that God is going to come to earth on a Lenticular cloud, so everytime the winds blow clouds over the sierras voila! God could come back. Why don’t you waste your time debunking that, too?

  20. JMW

    @6. jcm Says: Like Carl Sagan said: We’re significance junkies.

    One of my favorite chapter titles:

    All this significance. What does it mean?

    From Parke Godwin’s “Waiting for the Galactic Bus”

  21. Fritriac

    Atmospheric optics and earthquakes? No way!

    But that remebered me on an elderly woman from my hometown – RIP – she was famous for her comments on natural phenomena :)

    Earthquake, about 3.2, some years ago: “I didn’t notice anything, but our windows are on the back side of our house, anyway”

    Lunar eclipse: “What, a shadow? Nonsense. That surely was a quick new moon!”

    A really wonderful, nearly perfect 22deg (or circumscribed) halo: “Foolish kids, never seen a rainbow?”

    Icelandic volcano (no, not that tongue-twisting one from this year, I think it was the Surtsey eruption): “That’s impossible. Iceland is in the Arctic, no volcano can survive there!”

    1000 times better in her original idiom, if only I could translate it 1:1 …

  22. gfsoa

    Uh, I’ve seen a *lot* of these in Manitoba. Manitoba is one of the more seismically stable areas in the entire continent. QED.

  23. We had rainbow clouds over Palomar Observatory on Thursday (http://palomarskies.blogspot.com/2010/05/palomar-flies-its-colors.html) and an earthquake last Easter. Maybe there is a reverse causality here.

  24. Peter M

    Clouds CAN foretell earthquakes.

    They just have to boob shaped…

  25. sisterbluebird

    That is funny. I do know that according to the weather books I have checked out for my kids that these can be an indicator of a change in weather–usually the kind that create precipitation. These and Mackaral skies mean a front within approx 12 hours. The Fire Clouds are also known as Circumhorizontal Arcs. If you catch a Sundog display with a full halo, the arc will appear at the top and sometimes at the bottom as well, though I have seen them [the arcs] appear all by themselves.

    Most likely the reason people are associating these two things with each other, [other than rumor panics] is that like someone else posted, a lot of people do not see these clouds, because they either do not look up, or are indoors at times when this phenomena occurs. So they see this, and then if anything odd or catastrophic happens after the fact, those two odd occurences now have an association in that person’s brain.

    In fact I photographed a circumhorizontal arc just about a week ago in of all places, Oklahoma. Not as brilliant as the photo provided at this site, but impressive nonetheless. And if anyone should understand about odd clouds, it would be okies. We get them all the time. They are called Tornadoes.

  26. Charon

    reidh: why don’t you waste your time commenting on every blog post on the internet that you don’t care about? Sounds like a good idea to me.

  27. MadScientist

    Ooooooo – an iridescent cloud! I’ve only seen one once and it wasn’t as pretty as that pic. I’ve seen an awesome sundog though (and a few more not-so-great ones). I keep forgetting to look out for moonbows. :(

  28. As I read this, I am looking out my window at iridescent (rainbowy) clouds, drinking Canadian beer, and watching “Mars Attacks!” Life is good…

    Hmmm… The science in this is starting to look pretty sound… Deep Canyons… Life developing beneath the surface….

    I think this movie deserves a reboot with lens flares… call JJ Abrams, quick!

  29. Messier Tidy Upper

    Is a rainbow cloud / irridescent the same thing as circumzenithal arc?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circumzenithal_arc

    Are circumzenithal arcs, parhelia (“sundogs” or “mock suns”) & rainbows all essentially the same phenomena seen in different places?

    PS. Thinking California ‘quakes saw the move Volcano (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volcano_(film) ) on TV last night where the eponymous event happens in LA. Lots of bad science I think – has the BA reviewed that one?

  30. Goodenough

    Everyone in Northern California knows that warm still weather proceeds earthquakes.

  31. I’ve heard of “earthquake lights” before, and am led to believe by Wikipedia that they’re probably or at least very possibly a real phenomenon?

    Either way… they teach reflection and refraction in grade school. Even if there IS the rare colourful flash before an earthquake, I know that there’s sunlight bouncing around in the water and ice in the sky every single day, and that colours up there are therefore not exactly rare or something to worry about.

  32. wade

    The Rainbow cloud thing is total bunk! Everyone knows that earthquakes are caused by C.H.U.D.S building birth certificate forging factories in the hollow earth for the Reptilians.

  33. TheVirginian

    Sorry, you’re wrong.
    Everyone knows that Poseidon causes earthquakes. Whenever he gets angry at us for not sacrificing to him, he jabs his trident into the ground and twists it, causing quakes.
    At the same time, because he’s angry, he gets hot. His heat turns the ocean into steam. The steam rises as clouds. The vapor cools in the upper atmosphere and catches the sun.
    So we get rainbow clouds, a sure sign of Poseidon’s wrath and, therefore, a sign that an earthquake is coming.
    Q.E.D.
    By the way, I was a theologian in a past life. Because I was so bad at it, the gods turned me into a newt. I’ve gotten better. :)

  34. I’m 26 and I’ve never seen a rainbow cloud in my life. I live in the NorthEast US so there are plenty of ice clouds around. Are they really as common as you suggest?
    -Bill

  35. Svlad Cjelli

    There are so many strata here. Mostly nimbus. But I look up when there is anything to see.

  36. #28 Michael.

    Why do you keep your TV outdoors? Aren’t you worried that it might be stolen while you are watching it through the window?

  37. Plutonian

    28. MichaelL Says:

    As I read this, I am looking out my window at iridescent (rainbowy) clouds, drinking Canadian beer, and watching “Mars Attacks!” Life is good…

    Ah! That’s the life. Molson or Labatts? ;-)

    @32. Svlad Cjelli Says:

    There are so many strata here. Mostly nimbus.

    Pedantic mode on here but strata = geological refernce to rock layers here NOT the cloud type which is called stratus. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stratus_cloud )

  38. Ron 1

    @15. Michelle Says: “no worse than believing in God”?? Lame. Believing in God has at least some forms of proof, a lot more than a silly theory like this rainbow thing-which can be DISproven. God may not be able to be scientifically proven, but there is NO way to disprove He doesn’t exist either. But this rainbow thing clearly can.
    ……………………………………………………

    If I understand you correctly, you’re saying that because a link between rainbow clouds and earthquakes can be disproven while the existence of God cannot be disproven, then the two beliefs are not analogous. If that is your argument then you are technically correct – belief in God probably IS somewhat less irrational than believing that rainbow clouds cause earthquakes. However, I argue that both beliefs are not rational, notwithstanding your argument that there are some forms of proof for God (?).

    Be honest – belief in God is no more rational than a child’s belief in the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus.

  39. Ron 1

    29. Messier Tidy Upper Says:
    Are circumzenithal arcs, parhelia (”sundogs” or “mock suns”) & rainbows all essentially the same phenomena seen in different places?

    ………………………………….

    No. The arcs and parhelia are all phenomena resulting from sunlight (sometimes moonlight) refracted by ice crystals in the atmosphere above the freezing level. Rainbows involve liquid water refracting sunlight below the freezing level.

    As for location, I’ve been observing weather for thirty years at latitudes from 52-70 degrees north and I’ve never seen rainbow clouds because the sun angle is never high enough. However, sundogs, mock suns, ice pillars are plentiful, particularly in winter when the sun angle is lowest.

    Additionally, at my latitudes, I’ve only seen noctilucent cloud (the highest) in July of each year, in the north sky from about about one hour after sunset until about one hour before sunrise — again because of sun angle. These clouds are different, however, and result from sunlight scattering off water vapour very high in the sky (50-70 miles).

  40. This would be a good M. Night Shyamalan movie.

  41. That’s silly. Everyone knows that they predict whether you will find love and happiness in life.

  42. I wonder if I will get to debunk this at GraniteCon next weekend?

  43. MadScientist

    @Messier: Nope – iridescent clouds have nothing to do with the circumzenithal arc. Usually I have the English translation of Marcel Minnaert’s “The Nature of Light and Colour in the Open Air” sitting on my shelf, but I musn’t have opened that box of books since I moved. You might be able to find it in a library though; another english title used is “Light and Color in the Outdoors” which I think is rather funny (“in the out…”) The circumzenithal arc and many other atmospheric optical phenomena are discussed; I can’t recall if iridescent clouds are in there though.

  44. Bee

    Pretty! I’ve never seen one.

  45. http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eqarchives/year/eqstats.php

    I think Phil was looking at the worldwide chart when he made the “50 a day” statement. These are the US annual figures for all quakes, all the way down to 0.1, in the past decade, and it’s nowhere near 50/day or 18,250/year:

    2342 2261 3876 2946 3550 3685 2783 2791 3618 * 4257

    Global stats, on the other hand, are:
    22256 23534 27454 31419 31194 30478 29568 29685 31777 * 14792

    (Side note: I was surprised that the largest number of recorded quakes were in the 4-5 range; I would have assumed the numbers climbed as the strength diminished.)

  46. I once stepped in dog poop and there was an earthquake. Ever since then, I’ve been careful not to step into dog poop.

  47. alfaniner

    Having never seen nor heard of this phenomenon before, I would at first be open to the possibility of corollation. I have recently done one of the Naked Scientists’ Kitchen Science demos, where you crush a sugar cube in the dark and it causes a glow. I could certainly believe that earth being crushed might cause a glow in the sky.

    I’ve seen plenty of sundogs but never associated them with anything other than an atmospheric condition, but being open to explanations for something previously unseen is hardly “astonishing ignorance”.

  48. Messier Tidy Upper

    @43. MadScientist : Okay – thanks. :-)

    @46. Lugosi : I try carefully not to do that even without worrying about it causing quakes – it saves having to scrape the smelly filth off my shoes! ;-)

    @47. alfaniner :

    you crush a sugar cube in the dark and it causes a glow. I could certainly believe that earth being crushed might cause a glow in the sky.

    How? What mechanism would cause the sky to glow if earth or rock gets crushed? Does the sky above the sugar glow or just the sugar itself?

  49. Pi-needles

    @46. Lugosi Says:

    I once stepped in dog poop and there was an earthquake. Ever since then, I’ve been careful not to step into dog poop.

    Sundog poop?

    Hey, maybe *that’s* the link the sundog causes sh .. er .. poop to happen! ;-)

  50. Mike from Tribeca

    Doesn’t it all depend on in which direction the observer is facing? If they were looking in the opposite direction, they would miss the “warning” and defeat the “purpose” altogether, as well as totally miss the Mayflower moving van that’s heading straight at them.

  51. Left_Wing_Fox

    I hard that myth after a major earthquake in china a couple years back. I figured it was bunk because I was seeing the exact same clouds in New Brunswick, Canada a just the week before. Looked like cotton-candy rocket-popsicles; pink, white and cyan. Very pretty; no earthquakes.

  52. Col

    @alfaniner. That last post just shows your astonishing ignorance.

  53. @45: Weaker earthquakes probabaly are more numerous, they’re just harder to detect, thus lower numbers.

  54. amphiox

    God may not be able to be scientifically proven

    Actually you can scientifically prove the existence of god. It is in fact trivially easy, in theory.

    All you need is one documented, independently and scientifically verified miracle. Just one. And presto, god is proven. (Doesn’t prove precisely which god, though).

    The problem is that the existence of god cannot be falsified. It is therefore impossible to design an experiment to demonstrate the existence of god because there is no method by which a false negative result can be distinguished from a true negative. So all you can do is wait for your miracle – forever (or until it happens, whichever comes first).

    It is not actually irrational in the slightest to hold a belief in something that is theoretically falsifiable, because in doing so you acknowledge the possibility of being wrong.

  55. mike burkhart

    I’ve been in two earthquakes in my life 1 when I was In study hall in high school both were minor with no damage other then concern when the school started shakeing up.I never saw these clouds before eather earthquake both came as a surprise.

  56. Kylie

    We call them “sun doggies” here in Utah. They definitely don’t foretell Earthquakes, but in my experience they’re good and predicting rainy weather.

  57. JamesH

    And as well as the links @hjb mentioned in #13, other scientists have proposed correlations between particular cloud formations and geological activity: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19826514.600. The idea that cloud formations could be related in some way to the temperature of the ground beneath them is hardly farfetched – the different patterns of release of heat from land with differing thermal characteristics is exactly what causes certain cloud formations. So I wouldn’t dismiss out of hand the possibility that there might be an increased probability of the particular sorts of clouds forming at the particular time of day that makes it more likely that people will see particular atmospheric optical effects being correlated with particular geological behaviours…. though I’ll admit it’s a stretch that the correlation would be strong enough to be noticed by random non-systematic observations.

  58. TheVirginian

    Look, guys, I live in south Louisiana. Contrary to other accounts, it’s one of the most-pagan places in the universe. I submit: Mardi Gras and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Two of the most-pagan events in the univerise. So it is not a Christian area despite what a lot of people say.
    I have never felt an earthquake living in south Louisiana. (Well, OK, I’ve been affected by two hurricanes – Katrina and Gustav – but they are not earthquakes.) So I say it must be Poseidon who is causing the quakes and rainbow clouds on the “Left Coast,” as the fascists like to call it. What other logical explanation is there? Christianity is not a necessary cause.

  59. MadScientist

    @Dave #45: There is often a lot of noise against which you’ve got to decide “earthquake or no earthquake”. Given the sparsity of seismometers around the planet, it’s not surprising that many weaker earthquakes aren’t necessarily recorded, or perhaps people don’t care to report them at all. Some stations are extremely noisy; one that perpetually annoys me is the Davao station (in the Philippines); the seismometer seems to be badly affected by wind and waves crashing. Every time I think “hey, this station should be in an excellent position to observe Event X” I download the data and start screaming. I’ve sometimes wondered if I should arrange to travel there to find out what the hell was done and why the station seems to be essentially nonfunctional.

  60. I’ve been a professional meteorologist for more than 40 years and an amateur astronomer for even longer.

    I’ve seen plenty of “rainbow cloud” but think the example of “fire cloud” heading this article is extreme and leaves a deceptive impression.

    Seeing small segments of rainbow colour in ice crystal clouds is dirt common. However, a fire cloud like the one depicted is not common at all. In fact, without being accusatory, it looks “photo-shopped” to me, meaning either made up of whole cloth or, at least, greatly and unrelistically enhanced.

  61. People think these are connected to earthquakes? Seriously?

    I saw a cloud and arc similar to the one in the post last Friday at lunchtime (southern California area): A feathery-looking cirrus cloud with a clear, bright spectrum, like a straightened-out rainbow.

    I ran back into the office to grab my camera — here’s a photo of the cloud and arc — and told some of my co-workers who are into photography. By the time I went back outside, at least four of us were watching it through a conference room window.

  62. LW

    I took photos of rainbow clouds in Lismore, NSW Australia in 2009. There was no earthquake after these appeared.

    The weather was a typical summer’s day in Australia.

    I have posted my photos on our website

  63. LW

    I took photos of rainbow clouds in Lismore, NSW Australia in 2009. There was no earthquake after these appeared.

    The weather was a typical summer’s day in Australia.

    I have posted my photos on our website Paranormal and Psychic Phenomena

  64. Jeff

    I agree that correlation in no way proves a direct causation, but seriously, before you go debunking myths, think about it…isn’t everything connected in this universe. I know it might sound like a large stretch, but the ground and sky could be connected in some way you know… Just like lightning strikes. Some lightning strikes happen because of electrical currents flowing between the GROUND and the CLOUDS…*Gasp!* a connection between the ground and the sky…oh my…impossible…this must be fake…if you think I’m wrong (I might be) or think I’m pulling it out of my ass…well then…I guess my Earth Science teachers must be wrong…and I guess Wikipedia too (Wikipedia can be wrong sometimes…not always correct).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lightning

  65. Halee Jettenn

    One time I took a picture of a Lego Star Wars Action Figure of Luke Skywalker to sell on Ebay and then a earthquake occured out of no where the next day. Now I never ever take pictures of stuff I sell on Ebay. Actually, I cancelled my Ebay account, scared that an earthquake will happen.

  66. Antony

    There was a rainbow after the big 7.1 that hit Christchurch NZ last week. I even took some photos of it. Then again it was raining, and I was coming back from taking photos of the city centre.

  67. wife and i saw one over delcambre la. a week ago.
    no earthwake here.
    over and done

  68. gilda

    i sore a rainbow cloud two days ago in Christchurch NZ, i took a photo of it, ive never seen anything like it, weve also just have a 7.1 earthquake about 2.5 months ago

  69. Tony

    Saw one of these clouds over Stoneycreek, Ontario today! Amazing beauty

  70. These clouds are real just saw with my own eyes, on this very day! It was the only cloud in the sky! Hamilton, Ont, Canada. Lets see if something happens over the next few days?

  71. Biblical thunder storms last night, the crazyest ive seen! 2 days after seeing rainbow cloud! Im sure they are connected to weather phenomenon!

  72. Renee

    We saw one yesterday afternoon. Just beautiful out over Isles of Shoals, Rye NH. So far so good-no earthquake :-D

  73. Hey before today’s earthquake, I actually saw a rainbow cloud near Upper Marlboro! Is this a coincidence?

  74. Ricardo

    Ok. Clouds with ice crystals happen all the time!!! yeah for sure, but not in tropical countries like Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, El Salvador or Chile. the point is that rainbow clouds had appeared in those countries and another others in which never snow and earthquakes happen after that (look for youtube videos and you’ll see).
    On september 1st, there was a 4.1 earthquake in LA, a week ago I saw a rainbow cloud, it couldn’t be a cloud with crystal, by these week temperature was almost 100 or more degrees… coincidence?
    BTW yesterday Driving around LA I saw a rainbow cloud!!! so be prepared LA.

  75. I saw two rainbow clouds in the passed week..? And I live in Virginia, And there has NOT been an earthquake.. But the cloud was really cool (: I took all kinds of pictures of them, But nobody believes me? And really what do the clouds mean?.

  76. Dan

    What you are talking about is technically called a circumhorizontal arc normally associated with Cirrus Clouds. This Phenomenon is totally different than earthquake lights.

  77. gisellewilding

    I have not often seen rainbow clouds (maybe four times). The first was last year, in Melbourne followed I believe the next day or so by a very rare event a quake that could be felt. On Tuesday driving home on a day of heavy HAARP clouds a most vibrant rainbow cloud was in the sky at 4.30pm. I took shots while driving (yes dangerous) and showed my daughter when I got home who agreed they were interesting then went off before I ranted to much in front of her boyfriend. Well around 9pm the biggest quake I have ever felt in Melbourne shook us (5.3) and this is one of the biggest over the last century. Epicenter Gippsland (fracking via HAARP? for satanic multinationals?)

    Oh God is very real and start believing in him as you all have not long to go.Insult me all you like; water off a ducks back.

  78. JC

    Not ALL earthquakes are related to “rainbow clouds” Anyone who is not familiar with HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program) needs to get up to speed quickly. Some, not all rainbow clouds are associated with this project when they are boiling the ionsphere. However, there’s certainly evidence about these clouds in areas where there have been catastrophic earthquakes, such as in Haiti and the one that caused the tsunami in Japan and the subsequent destruction of the Fukishima reactor. I would recommend anyone who isn’t familiar with it learn how dangerously close we are to our self destruction, and how daily we have our attention diverted from it. WAKE UP PEOPLE!!

  79. kiah

    cool cloud regardless

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »