Bizarre colorful (luminous/glowing) cloud phenomenon in the sky was observed about 30 mins before the May 12, 2008 Sichuan earthquake took place. This was recorded in Tianshui, Gansu province ~450km northeast of epicenter, by someone using a cell phone.
See similar cloud formation captured 20 minutes later in a different city, ~200km east of this location: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzVamNQzfYA
A map of the locations with sightings of very similar phenomenon.
More photos taken, reported 1 hr before the quake.:
These clouds seemed to be glowing or somewhat luminous and seemed to resemble some characteristics of the Auroras. I am not sure exactly what they were or whether they indeed had anything to do with the quake. I am no expert anyways. See if any scientists are willing to give a full explanation.
If such phenomenon can be proved for its connection with earthquake occurrences, maybe they could be used as warning signs and would be life saving. If not, just learn these clouds as yet another rare atmospheric phenomenon and no need to panic when seeing them.
After all, this might well be just a rare atmospheric phenomenon occurred by coincidence. Though, just wondering if there's any possibility the formation of such rare clouds be catalyzed by any event??
I guess some of you might find the following articles interesting.
For Chinese readers: (about the poem that predicting the quake)