One thing is for certain, there will be another solar flare “SuperStorm” similar or worse than the Carrington Event of 1859.
One day again there will be an exceptionally mammoth explosion on the sun – a solar flare producing a colossal cloud of charged electromagnetic particles headed directly towards the Earth.
Also known as a “CME”, or Coronal Mass Ejection, the streaming mass of particles from a Carrington sized event will crash into the Earth’s magnetic field and likely (abruptly) end our way of life as we know it today.
How? By knocking out our lifeblood – electricity and electrical / electronic systems.
For how long? Let’s put it this way… the power won’t come back on line like your typical power outage. It could take months, a year, longer, or never.
Why would it take so long? Because the probable damage to electric power systems and electronic infrastructure would necessitate repair and replacement to such an extreme extent that the task would be seemingly impossible with electricity, never-mind without…
I have written numerous articles and have had lots of discussion here surrounding the potential devastating aspects of the long term loss of electricity and electronic infrastructure as a result of EMP (electromagnetic pulse), solar-flares and CME.
This time though, I am going to highlight yet another potentially devastating aspect of a solar super-flare and subsequent SuperStorm:
When you research what happened 158 years ago during a time of modern technology, it’s eye-opening to interpolate what would likely happen today – given what happened back then.
The Earth’s invisible sphere of magnetism surrounding our planet began to shudder, shake, and oscillate. People down below couldn’t feel it, but they could see it. The sky lit up in greens, orange and red as charged particles slammed through. Today we call it a geomagnetic storm.
“Rapidly moving fields induced enormous electric currents that surged through telegraph lines and disrupted communications.”
“The telegraph systems in Europe and North America were brought down, with some reports of electrocution and fires spawned around their lines.”
“Many telegraph lines across North America were rendered inoperable. A telegraph manager in Pittsburgh, reported that the resulting currents flowing through the wires were so powerful that platinum contacts were in danger of melting and “streams of fire” were pouring forth from the circuits.”
“Some telegraph stations that used chemicals to mark sheets reported that powerful surges caused telegraph paper to combust.”
Dr. Peter Vincent Pry reports, “The Carrington Event was a worldwide phenomenon, causing fires in telegraph stations and forest fires from telegraph lines bursting into flames on several continents. Fortunately, in the horse and buggy days of 1859, civilization did not depend upon electrical systems.”
Another Carrington Event today would likely collapse electric grids and infrastructures all over the planet. Billions of lives would be at risk. Pry says “Scientists estimate that geomagnetic superstorms occur about every 100-150 years. The Earth is probably overdue to encounter another Carrington Event.
Given the fires caused by the event 150+ years ago, can you imagine the increased potential for fire in today’s modern world?
How would fires happen? During a Carrington Event CME, for a period of time Earth’s magnetic field would contort and convulse while inducing electrical currents onto our power grids and electric infrastructure, destroying them, perhaps permanently.
A conductor, a magnetic field, and motion is all that’s needed to conduct electricity. With the entire Earth’s magnetic field in motion, and given the incalculable amount of wire, coils, conductors, electrical transformers here on Earth, there would surely be huge amounts of heat generated as strong currents flowed through – some of it setting fire to surrounding homes and buildings.
I haven’t heard this aspect talked about much (fire) with regards to a long lasting and powerful CME, however it seems likely to me. It’s bad enough that we would be sent back to the stone age without our electric systems, but then to have the potential of fire burning through what’s left of our infrastructure, does not paint a pretty picture.
What can we do about it?
Regarding the fire aspect to this potential life-altering apocalypse, keep a number of ‘ABC’ fire extinguishers in your home. You should anyway!
Depending on where you live and when your home or building was built, modern electrical codes should certainly help contain any potential electrical fire within the home’s electrical infrastructure. That said, there are plenty of older structures out there with questionable electrics…
Additionally, some home appliances have motors (which contain wound-coiled electrical wires-conductors) which may be susceptible to heat and fire. Even if they’re not plugged in there will be currents flowing in these devices during a major ‘SuperStorm’ CME.
Do you live in a tightly developed neighborhood where if the home next door catches on fire then yours probably will too? Do you have a bugout plan for that?
Are all of your preparedness eggs in one basket in your home?
Related: One Second After