After Tuesday's 5.0-magnitude jolt, Sichuan residents are getting nervous about earthquake again. Yesterday, residents of Chengdu spotted an "earthquake cloud."
Yesterday evening, Ms. Zhang of Xinjin county discovered an "earthquake cloud" in the sky alongside a solar halo. Is it possible there will be another earthquake? Worried, she called the newspaper hotline. The reporter immediately turned to an expert for consultation, an employee of the provincial meteorological office. This employee said that a solar halo is a very normal astrological occurrence and that the concept of an "earthquake cloud" has absolutely no scientific basis. "If there's really such a thing as an 'earthquake cloud,' then we would be able to predict earthquakes before they happened." The meteorologist said that earthquake clouds are nothing more than an old wives' tale and that there is no such thing among meteorological circles. Currently, the type of ring-shaped, thin cloud mistaken by people as an earthquake cloud is actually caused by aircraft. Because the air temperature at high altitudes is low, an aircraft passing through will form a "cloud" that takes on such a shape.
As far as the solar halo, although it is rarely seen, it is still classified as a normal phenomenon. The halo is caused by the sun's rays passing through the ice crystals in the middle layers of a cloud. The light refracts in such a way that causes the appearance of a multi-colored ring around the sun . Such a phenomenon indicates that there will soon be a change in weather.
Here is a gallery of photos alleged to be "earthquake clouds" taken by a photographer in Shandong Province days before the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.