Parametric Instability of Water Drops in an Electric Field as a Possible Mechanism for Luminous Phenomena Accompanying Earthquakes

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The nature of luminescence that accompanies seismic events has not yet been satisfactorily explained. At the same time, the observational evidence available leaves no room for doubt as to its existence and the connection with earthquake preparatory processes, or at any rate with the earthquake itself. This paper develops a model based on instability in the shape of a drop of liquid placed in an external electric field. Increasing instability leads to an 'avalanche-like' fragmentation of the drop into smaller ones and to a local increase in the electric field. Provided the drops are small enough, the field is sufficient in magnitude to produce a corona discharge that is maintained by photoionization. This mechanism is feasible under actual conditions when mist, dew, rain, or rime are present. In contrast to other hypothetical mechanisms, this model can explain the large spatial scales and time intervals of the luminescence phenomenon.



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