Geologists at Lund University in Sweden suggest that a strong solar storm could severely hamper today's technology driven society.
A study centered on ancient ice in Greenland found evidence of a solar storm that had occurred 660 B.C.; which was approximately 2,700 years ago. Scientists studied the ice which dates as far back as 100,000 years and unearthed existence of radioactive isotopes that hinted at a powerful solar storm that may have occurred nearly 2,700 years ago. Raimund Muscheler, lead author, and geologist at Lund University in Sweden said, "If that solar storm had occurred today, it could have had severe effects on our high-tech society." The storm would have had no impact on the ancient society that existed before the world became so heavily reliant on technology. The scientists say that it could definitely pose a threat to our society today, and put the communication and navigation systems at risk.
Two recent instances of a solar storm took place in 1989, in Quebec, Canada, and then in 2003 in Malmö, Sweden. Solar storms are essentially explosions of mass and energy from the sun's surface known as solar flares. Earth is impacted by such solar activity when it happens on the side of the Sun that is facing the earth, and charged particles penetrate the magnetic field and enter the Earth's atmosphere. This is the third instance that a solar storm from ancient times has been discovered, which leads the researchers to understand that the solar storms, although rare, are a recurring phenomenon. Dr. Musceler concludes, "That's why we must increase society's protection against solar storms. Our research suggests that the risks are currently underestimated. We need to be better prepared."
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