Solar Super-Storm Hit Earth 2,610 Years Ago | Geoscience, Space Exploration

Radioactive particles from huge solar storm found in Greenland

Muscheler and his research team examined two 100,000-year-old ice cores from Greenland before they made the astonishing discovery.

A strong wave of high-energy particles should be able to destroy most of the electronic devices which are now in use, including primary navigation and communication systems.

The only account of a "super storm" striking Earth comes from more than 150 years ago - when a Victorian scientist, Richard Carrington, described an eruption known as "the Carrington event".

The scientists calculate that the storm sent at least 10bn protons per square centimetre into the atmosphere.

"If that solar storm had occurred today, it could have had severe effects on our high-tech society", Professor Muscheler said. Worse yet, the world has become far more dependent on electricity since the Carrington Event, and if a similarly powerful geomagnetic storm were to hit now, power outages might last weeks, months or even years as utilities struggle to replace key parts of power grids, the 2013 study found.

Scientists studying ice almost half a kilometre beneath the surface found a band of radioactive elements unleashed by a storm that struck the planet in 660BC.

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And while enormous solar storms are a rare occurrence, they seem to occur periodically, the researchers explained. The researchers have utilized drilled specimens of ice or ice cores to search clues about former solar storms.

They found traces of chlorine and beryllium isotopes in the ice from the deadly storm over 2,500 years ago. This matches prior work examining tree rings that suggested a spike of carbon-14 about the same time. 775 and another in A.D. 994.

Regarding number of high-energy protons, the 660 B.C. and the A.D.

Other researchers are also working on new protection methods which should be able to shield our sensitive electronics from the harm that can be caused by the high-power particles of a strong solar storm. A new study has chose to analyze ice cores (samples of ice which are recovered from glaciers and zones where the ice is ancient) as they aimed to learn more about the phenomenon and how it can influence the world. This event can be compared to the strongest SPE detected at 775 CE, and it is only the third of its kind.

"Our research suggests that the risks are now underestimated", Muscheler added. "We just looked at the last 3,000 years, and we certainly can get good enough data for the past 12,000 years". The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "The challenge will be to find the smaller ones that probably still exceed anything we measured in recent decades".

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