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10 mins before the 2008 Sichuan earthquake in China

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Published on May 13, 2008

Bizarre glowing cloud phenomenon in the sky was observed about 10 mins before the May 12, 2008 Sichuan earthquake took place. This was recorded in Meixian, Shaanxi province ~550km northeast of epicenter. The phenomenon was said to last for about 1 min. source: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_cb00XMjc... (Note: People in China do not have direct access to youtube. It was unknown who filmed or uploaded it based on the description in Chinese sites. I only attempted to provide the geographical relationship between the location of sightings and epicenter for interested people to further their investigation.)

A map showing two locations where such clouds were sighted relative to Sichuan earthquake epicenters: http://goo.gl/1EpHqS

See similar clouds appeared ~200km west of this location:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKMTSD...

More photos (reported taken 1 hr before the quake):
http://shenyun.epochtimes.com/b5/8/5/...

These clouds were colorful and seemed to be glowing. I am not sure exactly what they were or whether they indeed had anything to do with the quake. I am no expert in meteorology or seismology anyways. See if any scientists are willing to give it a full explanation.

If such phenomenon can be proven for its connection with quake occurrences, being able recognize or detect them could be life saving. If not, just learn these clouds as yet another rare atmospheric phenomenon and do no panic when seeing them.
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UPDATE:
Thanks to many people who pointed it out. This type of cloud is most likely the so called "circumhorizontal arc." It had nothing to do with the earthquake. Its appearance in the sky preceding the quake event was most likely a coincidence as well.

I guess some of you might find the following articles interesting.
http://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/ha...
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB12112...
http://environment.newscientist.com/a...
For Chinese readers: (about the poem that predicting the quake, it's just a hoax.) 四川強震/李白「壓箱詩」預言? 純屬網路謠言!
http://www.nownews.com/2008/05/21/162...

UPDATE Jan 6, 2014
http://www.nature.com/news/earthquake...

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