Massive Solar Storm Hit The Earth More Than Two Millennia Ago

Massive Solar Storm Hit The Earth More Than Two Millennia Ago

"That's why we must increase society's protection again solar storms". But this event almost 2,700 years ago appears to have been more than 10 times stronger than any storm we've detected in the last 70 years.

New research indicates that solar storms can be even more powerful than measurements have shown so far via direct observations.

And while enormous solar storms are a rare occurrence, they seem to occur periodically, the researchers explained.

By drilling deep into 100,000-year-old ice in Greenland, researchers found radioactive evidence of an "extreme solar event" that occurred around the year 660 BC - a period that coincides with the dissolution of the once-mighty Assyrian Empire, the construction of the Acropolis in Athens and the founding of Taoism in China. For example, in 1989, a solar outburst blacked out the entire Canadian province of Quebec within seconds, damaging transformers as far away as New Jersey, and almost shutting down US power grids from the mid-Atlantic through the Pacific Northwest.

In addition, when a proton storm hits Earth's magnetosphere - the shell of electrically charged particles - it is trapped by Earth's magnetic field.

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The researchers believe at least 10 billion protons per square centimeter were unleashed into the atmosphere from the event.

The tell-tale signs were elevated levels of beryllium-10 and chlorine-36 isotopes embedded in the ice, both evidence of chemical reactions kicked off by the Sun's activity reaching through Earth's magnetic shield to the surface. Spikes in beryllium and chlorine isotopes indicated that, during the seventh century BCE, the world was rocked by a storm that might be among the strongest ever recorded.

The team of scientists, which examined the chemicals preserved in Greenland ice sheet, concluded that the storm was almost 10 times stronger than anything detected in past 70 years of modern measurements. The latter was, to date, the biggest solar event on record. These storms took place in 775 and 994 CE.

The biggest storm in the technological era was the Carrington Event which occurred in September 1859. However, if these ancient solar outbursts "were connected with a geomagnetic storm, I would assume that they would exceed the worst-case scenarios that are often based on Carrington-type events", he noted. "There might be more that we have not yet discovered". "We need to be better prepared", says Muscheler.

According to the recent study, which was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, there is the possibility of another one striking.

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