Evidence of Enormous, 2600-Year-Old Solar Storm Found in Greenland

Evidence of Enormous, 2600-Year-Old Solar Storm Found in Greenland

The material appears to be the radioactive remnants of a solar storm that battered the atmosphere.

A solar storm of such intensity would have the potential of wiping out large swathes of modern technology on Earth and could throw civilisation into disarray.

The radiation and magnetic shockwave unleashed from a solar storm "of such magnitude occurring in modern times could result in severe disruption of satellite-based technologies, high-frequency radio communication, and space-based navigation systems", the study said.

Earth is constantly being bombarded by cosmic particles.

From time to time, the sun emits massive blasts of radiation and high-energy particles that can make its way towards Earth.

New research indicates that solar storms can be even more powerful than measurements have shown so far via direct observations. For example, in 1989, a solar outburst blacked out the entire Canadian province of Quebec within seconds, damaging transformers as far away as New Jersey, and almost shutting down US power grids from the mid-Atlantic through the Pacific Northwest.

Raimund Muscheler, a professor of quaternary sciences at Lund University in Sweden, said: "What our research shows is that the observational record over the past 70 years does not give us a complete picture of what the sun can do.". But this event almost 2,700 years ago appears to have been more than 10 times stronger than any storm we've detected in the last 70 years.

He added: "We must increase protection against solar storms".

The researchers behind the new, global study led by researchers from Lund University have used drilled samples of ice, or ice cores, to find clues about previous solar storms.

They found traces of chlorine and beryllium isotopes in the ice from the deadly storm over 2,500 years ago. 774-775. The latter is the largest solar eruption known to date.

"This study provides evidence of an enormous solar storm around 2,610 B.P. It is only the third such event reliably documented and is comparable with the strongest event detected at AD 774/775", Muscheler and colleagues wrote in their study published in the journal PNAS. "There might be more that we have not yet discovered".

This finding should motivate us to review the possibility that a similar event will take place sooner or later - and we should prepare.

"Our research suggests that the risks are now underestimated", Muscheler added.

If you want to find out more about this topic, you can search online for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and you will find the topic there.



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