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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?

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: 2) by canopic jug on Sunday November 11 2018, @05:18AM

    by canopic jug (3949) Subscriber Badge on Sunday November 11 2018, @05:18AM (#760570) Journal

    That sounds much better than a while back when just touching the leads could kill the devices even if the discharge was too small to be felt. I'm quite glad there has been improvement in that area. I do still see a lot of 3.3V devices that will burnout if provided overvoltage, so the question would still be where the vulnerable equipment is being used and how pervasive it is. However, caution is different from fear. There is potential for fear mongering here while at the same time potential to avoid an unnecessary mess. It's very much about presentation and dialog I suppose.

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