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posted by martyb on Saturday November 10 2018, @01:47PM   Printer-friendly
from the need-more-fiber-optics dept.

Recently declassified documents suggest that in August 1972, a massive, high-velocity coronal mass ejection caused many sea mines to detonate unexpectedly. A new look is taken at the incident, taking into account more of what is known about the solar activity at the time.

The extreme space weather events of early August 1972 had significant impact on the US Navy, which have not been widely reported. These effects, long buried in the Vietnam War archives, add credence to the severity of the storm: a nearly instantaneous, unintended detonation of dozens of sea mines south of Hai Phong, North Vietnam on 4 August 1972. This event occurred near the end of the Vietnam War. The US Navy attributed the dramatic event to 'magnetic perturbations of solar storms.' In researching these events we determined that the widespread electric‐ and communication‐ grid disturbances that plagued North America and the disturbances in Southeast Asia late on 4 August likely resulted from propagation of major eruptive activity from the Sun to the Earth. The activity fits the description of a Carrington‐class storm minus the low latitude aurora reported in 1859. We provide insight into the solar, geophysical and military circumstances of this extraordinary situation. In our view this storm deserves a scientific revisit as a grand challenge for the space weather community, as it provides space‐age terrestrial observations of what was likely a Carrington‐class storm.

Given that nearly everything is almost fully dependent on electronics and those same electronics are connected to several large networks of copper wire which will act as antennas, what will we do now to mitigate the damage so we are more ready when a similar event occurs again?

From
Space Weather : On the Little‐Known Consequences of the 4 August 1972 Ultra‐Fast Coronal Mass Ejecta: Facts, Commentary and Call to Action
Science Alert : A Solar Storm Detonated Dozens of US Sea Mines, Declassified Navy Documents Reveal


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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Runaway1956 on Saturday November 10 2018, @05:03PM (1 child)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday November 10 2018, @05:03PM (#760388) Homepage Journal

    I've a whole plant full of equipment. Some of that equipment uses 50 year old technology, while we have (in some cases) almost identical equipment sitting next to it, that uses state of the art electronics.

    When we have a power fluctuation, it's the modern stuff that crashes first. In days gone by, I could visually see the lights flicker - sometimes they would be out for half a second to maybe even a second. I would walk the plant, checking on things, and maybe one or two items would be down. Today, the power fluctuation may be so momentary that I can't even see it. But, half of our equipment will crash. My first clue that something happened is listening to the alarms from the chiller and the air compressor. Once those raucous alarms start blaring, the various machines chime in with their more musical tones. The old stuff never even notices.

    --
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  • (Score: 2) by Knowledge Troll on Saturday November 10 2018, @05:24PM

    by Knowledge Troll (5948) on Saturday November 10 2018, @05:24PM (#760400) Homepage Journal

    I bet a voltage sag on one of the many or the main oscillator puts it into a condition it can't ever get back from.

    That equipment should have watchdogs on it that cause them to go through the initial power on sequence again if it is that delicate.