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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1998 > Jun > Jun 23

CE: 'Light Phenomenon' In June '98 N. Carolina

From: Kenny Young <task@FUSE.NET>
Date: Tue, 23 Jun 1998 12:27:19 -0700
Fwd Date: Tue, 23 Jun 1998 15:52:47 -0400
Subject: CE: 'Light Phenomenon' In June '98 N. Carolina

June, 1998
Reported Earthquake in North Carolina accompanies "flash of light"

The reports of a recent earthquake in an unlikely locality such as
North Carolina contain additional, unreported information which may
be of interest. A powerful 'flash of light' was described by area
residents, drawing initial speculation of a meteor strike in the

The U.S. Geological Survey concluded that a minor earthquake with
the preliminary magnitude of 3.2 on The Richter Scale occurred at
10:31 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Thursday evening, June 4. The
epicenter was determined to have been about 10 miles west-northwest
of Kannapolis and about 20 miles north of Charlotte.

In a news report dated June 5, 1998, UPI reported that the local 9-1-1
emergency line fielded 93 calls after the first trembler at 10:31 p.m.
EDT, which was reportedly followed by two smaller aftershocks. UPI
quoted witnesses as describing tremors which felt like a series of
'underground explosions.'

Missing from the reportage was the initial concern expressed among
citizenry regarding a brilliant flash of light which was visually
observed and thought by many to be connected with the incident.

Jeff Whisenant of The Lucile Miller Observatory in Maiden, North
Carolina, dispatched an advisory on an internet 'newsgroup' relevant
to the event, first expressing concern that a meteor had impacted
the region.

During my contact with Whisenant on June 16, he confirmed that there
were seven calls and e-mails within about 15 minutes of the incident
placed to the observatory in Mooresville, North Carolina, which is
just north of Charlotte. He said that the description of the incident
was consistent with that of a "meteor hit."

Whisenant added that weather officials confirmed that there was no
thunder or lightning storms at that time within 50-miles of the
area (Note - I also conducted a check of weather advisories and found
some thunderstorm alerts for this region but issued earlier in the week).

Mr. Whisenant initially sought to follow up on the reports and correlate
any possible sightings, but suspended his efforts when geologists stated
that the unusual event was due to a minor earthquake, a very rare
occurrence in North Carolina.

Whisenant added that 4 of the 7 calls he received reported a 'light
event' associated with the shaking. He theorized that any light
associated with the event probably originated with 'heat lightning'
from storms in the Raleigh area.

"We have also considered that the light event may have been "imagined",
or just coincidence," Whisenant added. "Confusion such as this happens
often, and is similar to people who report hearing a hiss at the instant
they see a meteor. These calls were from ordinary people who were not
familiar with meteors, or earthquakes either, for that matter."

A kind 9-1-1 dispatcher for Mooresville Police Department who was
contacted by telephone said that their initial fears centered on a
natural gas pipeline in the area that was thought to have exploded.
Additional concerns were that an airplane had crashed, as the
flight line for the Charlotte Airport is in the region. They were
also concerned that a calamity had struck The McGuire Nuclear Power

The dispatcher added that her daughter was standing on her porch when
the event transpired, and heard a tremendous 'BOOM' sound.

Mr. Larry Dickerson, Director of Iredell County Emergency Management,
was also contacted on Wednesday morning, June 17. He said that there
were numerous 9-1-1 reports from citizens advising of a tremendous
flash in the sky, and added that so many calls came in at once that
the office did not take time to get names from callers.

"At that particular time [the flash] was part of the confusion," he
said, recalling how the 'flash' reports confounded their understanding
of the event which they were dealing with.

"The National Earthquake Center said that we wouldn't have flashes of
light in a 3.2 earthquake, and the sky was clear, there were stars.
People were reporting something," said the emergency management

"Initially, we thought it was anything from a gas pipeline explosion
to a large plane crash. People were describing a tremendous flash of
light. In the first 30-minutes of the earthquake we took in over 700
phone calls. The first few of which were relevant to the flash."

Dickerson said that there were more than 'a dozen' callers reporting
the brilliant flash, but in a later phone call on June 23, added
that there had been so many calls to the 9-1-1 office relevant to the
incident that the majority of reports dealt with the explosive noise
which was heard and the calls regarding the 'flash' report could not
be easily located by the 9-1-1 telecommunicators.

Mr. Dickerson also added that the majority of people were probably
indoors and did not see the flash, and that the bright flash was also
reported on a Charlotte, North Carolina NBC news affiliate.

"From my understanding," Dickerson added, "people did describe the
event using the word 'explosion.' Rolling thunder is not unusual
around here, the folks in this area are very familiar with that. We
recently had a plane crash, and people used the word crash, not

Dickerson added that although the residents in the area thought there
was a huge explosion which took place, he acknowledged that they are
also unfamiliar with earthquakes.

"I've heard of earthquake lights recently, and in the past month I have
heard of these earthquake lights far more than I'll ever want to know...
but the National Earthquake Information center said it was highly unlikely
that the flash everyone saw was associated with the earthquake. We didn't
have a clue what it was, and at the time an 'earthqake' was way down
on the list."

Dickerson remarked how police officers and dispatchers laughed when
they were first told the event was due to an earthquake. "The earthquake
explanation was initially dismissed," he said.

The references to any 'flash of light' seen in conjunction with the
reported earthquake event was omitted from news media reportage of
the happening. It was not until this writer noticed an internet
posting from Jeff Whisenant of The Lucile Miller Observatory requesting
information on a 'meteor hit' that a 'light-flash' phenomenon reported
at the time of the North Carolina earthquake incident was known. My
subsequent email contact with Whisenant and phone call to Dickerson
verified this strange report.

Dickerson said that he will send me a 9-1-1 tape of the citizen
advisements of the earthquake incident for my research purposes. I
expressed to him that I sought to triangulate the locality where the
flash and boom was reported.

A phenomenon known as 'earthquake lights' has been documented and
measured by researchers. Dickerson stressed, however, that the National
Earthquake Center denied that the North Carolina flash would have
been attributable to the 3.2 quake on June 4.


The Iredell County Fire Department documented the following log entry:

 Friday, June 05, 1998
 MOORESVILLE, NC: (Iredell Co.) *Earthquake*  A 3.2 Earthquake shook
 structures in a 20 mile radius just north of Charlotte.  (4)
 aftershocks. No major damage.  No injuries.  County Agencies very busy.
 [CFP353*702]. 12:50a.m.

June 23, 1998
UFO Research

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