Proof of 9,200 year-old Solar Storm hitting Earth found; Another will spell DISASTER | Tech News

Proof of 9,200 year-old Solar Storm hitting Earth found; Another will spell DISASTER

A powerful solar storm capable of destroying all modern communication systems had hammered Earth. Thankfully, that was 9,200 years ago. We are not ready for another.

By: AKASH DUTTA
| Updated on: Aug 21 2022, 23:46 IST
Solar Flares vs Solar Storms
The evidence of an ancient solar storm leaves scientists worried that a similar event may happen again in the future, and we are not prepared for it (Pixabay)

About 9,200 years ago, Earth faced a massive solar storm that not only caused damage to the planet but also carved permanent marks on icebergs. These icebergs, which are now deep underwater around Greenland and Antarctica, have been discovered and scientists have conducted tests to conclude that the marks were made by one of the strongest solar storms ever witnessed by planet Earth. Now, the question that arises is what will a similar storm in present times do? And the answer is worrying.

"These enormous storms are currently not sufficiently included in risk assessments. It is of the utmost importance to analyze what these events could mean for today's technology and how we can protect ourselves." Raimund Muscheler, co-author of the solar storm study and geology researcher at Lund University in Sweden, said in a statement.

Ancient solar storm: What does it tell us

Reported by LiveScience, one of the most interesting things about this study's finding is that it occurred during a solar minimum. Solar minimum is the period during the 11 year solar cycle of the Sun when coronal mass ejections (CME) and solar storms are less common. However, these new findings of the study have put into question our understanding of solar storms and the solar cycle. It will not be unsurprising if Earth ever gets caught into a severe solar storm at a time when it was least expecting it.

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The concerns are significant. A solar storm like this today will destroy every communication and GPS satellite in space, cause massive power grid failures and will definitely take us to the dark ages for a while. Additionally, the radiation itself can cause damage to crops starting a famine and can start forest fires. Skin damage and an increase in lethal diseases like cancer is also not entirely out of question.

"This (solar storm) further pushes the magnitude of a potential worst-case scenario for (similar) events," the study read. However, looking at the silver lining, this finding will also help the scientific community in investigating more such ancient solar storms and improve both our understanding of the potential damage they can and find suitable solutions to guard us against them.

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First Published Date: 01 Feb, 17:32 IST
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